For generations, ploughing fields has been traditionally viewed as a job reserved for men. Women, on the other hand, were often tasked with harvesting and processing crops. However, this gender-based division of labour may be shifting as more and more women are utilising mini tillers to take control of their own farming needs. And in Samtse, the distribution of women-friendly power mini tillers is helping this cause. Chimi Dema, a 41-year-old resident of Dorokha village in Samtse, has travelled to Samtse town to purchase one of the mini tillers being distributed by the district agriculture sector.
These tillers are part of the Food Security and Agriculture Productivity project aimed at improving agricultural productivity in the district.
Prior to her purchase, Chimi takes the initiative to thoroughly study the mini tiller and become well-versed in its operating procedures.
Given her previous experience in handling power tillers, Chimi quickly adapts to the new equipment and can operate it with ease within just a few minutes.
As a mother of two, Chimi sees the mini-tiller as a means of achieving self-dependency and empowerment.
“Since the normal power tillers are big in size and strong, women cannot easily operate them. But this mini tiller is different. It is small and user-friendly. It can be easily used by any woman.”
In addition, Chimi recognises that the mini tiller has the potential to address the issue of limited labour in rural villages.
“Since the machine can do the work of ten people, we now do not have to worry about hiring labourers for our agriculture works. It is very difficult to get labourers these days and their wages are also very expensive.”
After investing her hard-earned money from years of farming, Chimi Dema is proud to bring home her very own mini-tiller.
Her sentiments are echoed by many other farmers who see the mini-tiller as a blessing that will help make farming more cost-effective and less physically demanding.
“It is very hot here in Samtse and we cannot do a lot of hard farming work. But now that we have mini-tillers, we do not have to spend a lot of our energy. We will be able to do more cultivation work,” said Tshewang Dorji, a resident of Yoeseltse.
“With these mini tillers, I think we will now be able to do more vegetable work in our village. Till today, we could not do much vegetable farming as we did not have bulls and power tillers to plough the fields,” said Penjor, another resident.
A total of 23 mini-tillers were distributed to beneficiaries from Dophuchen, Norboogang, Yoeseltse, Sang-Ngag-Chhoeling, and Tendu gewogs on a 50 per cent cost-sharing basis.
These Indian-made mini tillers are priced at approximately Nu 42,000 each. The Food Security and Agricultural Productivity project under the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock allocated around Nu 1 M towards the project.