Maharashtra’s Female Farm Workforce Struggles in the Shadows of Floods

Environmental News from India: 

  • Some women agricultural laborers in Maharashtra’s Kolhapur and Sangli districts are reporting disruptions to their physical and mental wellbeing as they deal with the aftereffects of floods in 2019 and 2021 and the uncertainty of climate.
  • Healthcare systems need to take an integrated and cohesive view of public health, recommend experts.
  • There is a lack of health data that connects climate change to its impact on health. Early warning systems in healthcare could save lives.

“How will we survive?

What can we do now?

What will we eat?”

Hirabai Hugge, 65, spent the majority of her time over six months, thinking about these questions. In her constant quest for answers, the fluctuating local climatic pattern and associated uncertainty posed as barriers.

When floods hit Kolhapur in August 2019, Hugge, an agricultural laborer, says it took over 45 days for the fields to drain completely. After that, when work just about restarted, a few heavy rainfall showers further destroyed the fields.

The same story, she says, repeated two years later, post the July 2021 floods. “In 2021, after these heavy showers, there was a long dry period which affected crops like soybean and jowar (sorghum),” she recollects.

To clear her debt, she thought of working an extra shift of eight hours. But these variations in rainfall and their disruption of agricultural work meant she couldn’t get enough double shifts. Despite her daughter-in-law pitching in, the Hugge family couldn’t earn enough to put food on the table because of the surmounting debt, deteriorating health, and lesser workdays.

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Source: Mongabay

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