Socio Economic Profile of Rural Women and the Role of Animal Husbandry Intervention in a Suicide Affected District of Kerala
P. Reeja George*, C.N Dinesh1, Shibu Simon1 and P.P. Balakrishnan1
*Department of Veterinary and A.H Extension, 1Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Pookot Wayanad 673 576 Kerala, India
KEYWORDS Socio-economic Profile. Rural Women. Animal Husbandry Intervention. Farmer Suicide
ABSTRACT There have been reports of farmer suicides in the Wayanad district in the south Indian state of Kerala and an investigation was undertaken to assess the socio economic profile of rural women and explore the possible role of animal husbandry in this district. The three taluks in Wayanad district were purposively selected from which a total of 103 women from self help groups functioning under the government sponsored poverty eradication programme were selected at random. Data was collected using a pre tested interview schedule in October 2006. Nearly one third of respondents indicated that their primary occupation was agriculture with some animal husbandry component. Availability of latrine, type of roof and walls of home, as well as domestic source of water were the three variables which used in this study to determine the quality of life of the sample population. Nearly 15 per cent of women did not have separate latrine facilities on their homestead and nearly seven per cent lived in make shift houses. More than half of the respondents were in the age group 25 – 35 years and their average yearly income was reported by them to be Rs 3768. Over three fourths (75.7%) of these households kept livestock along with crops. The paper emphasizes the importance of exploring alternate employment and income generating activities such as animal husbandry in order to improve the socio economic conditions of these women since the family background variables have a vital role in the development of personality traits in children which could affect quality of human capital in the future generation of the district.
Set on the Western Ghats and the Deccan Plateau, Wayanad district of Kerala state once boasted of a booming economy. However, during the last decade or so, there has been a slump in the prices of most of the agricultural commodities. The agrarian crisis has resulted in over 300 farmer suicides in the district (The Hindu, Nov 2006). The reverberations of this crisis have been felt at all levels in Wayanad society. Thousands of people have been reported to be crossing over to neighboring states in search of wage labor and thousands of children are dropping out from school because there parents cant afford to pay for their education. (The Hindu, Dec, 2004 and Jan 2005). Women in society often bear the brunt of changes that occur in their society. It is in this context that an investigation into their socio- economic situation as well as the possible animal husbandry interventions that are feasible in the area of study assumes significance.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
For the purpose of the present study, the three taluks in Wayanad district were purposively selected Viz Sultan Bathery, Vythiri and
Manathavady. A total of 103 women from self help groups functioning under Kudumbasree, the State Poverty Eradication Programme were selected at random from these three taluks. Data was collected using a pre tested interview schedule in October 2006.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
a. Socio-economic Profile of Respondents
Analysis of data revealed that nearly one third (32 per cent) of respondents indicated that their primary occupation was agriculture with some animal husbandry component while just over thirty eight per cent indicated that animal hus- bandry along with agriculture as a minor compo- nent was their primary occupation. Twenty five per cent of respondents were...