The Division of Labor and Agricultural Innovation in Bangladesh: Dimensions of Gender
Thompson P. Thomas
Without reliable statistics and a specific gender analysis of socio-economic data, including income and labor force data, it will be difficult to formulate appropriate policies and programs in Bangladesh that address the needs of its economic players, especially those who are disadvantaged, including the income-poor women. Much work remains to document and more fully understand the issues surrounding gender and the division of agricultural labor. Our intention is to make a contribution through an assessment of the division of labor through subnational data from Bangladesh that is based on two methods of rice fertilization — one traditional method and one innovative method. The most prevalent and traditional method of applying nitrogenous fertilizer to rice is a basal application before transplanting followed by one or more topdressings in the floodwater within 3–4 weeks after transplanting up to near flowering. Numerous research reports, however, have shown that such practices are inefficient, because generally only about one-third of the fertilizer nitrogen (N) is used by plants and the remainder is lost through volatilization, denitrification, runoff and leaching or immobilized in the soil. An innovative means to reduce N losses and improve fertilizer efficiency is to deep place fertilizer N as urea supergranules (USG) of compacted prilled urea. The basic method of USG application is to place USG by hand between four alternating hills of rice at a depth of 7–10 cm about 3–7 days after transplanting. This method is called urea deep placement (UDP). It is precisely the form and method of urea application that is of particular interest in this study. Our intention is to evaluate the consequences of agricultural innovation for the division of labor in general and to particularly assess the consequences for women and their distinct labor contributions to all tasks involved in paddy production. We are particularly interested in quantifying the labor contribution of women as unpaid family workers in paddy production.
Deep placement, Rice, Gender Equity