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The 'Invisible Half': Recognizing the contribution of women in agriculture


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Presented by Purvi Mehta and Sapna Jarial at the Regional Conference of the International Network of Women Engineers and Scientists, New Delhi, India, 12-13 October 2012

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The 'Invisible Half': Recognizing the contribution of women in agriculture

  1. 1. The “Invisible Half”Recognizing the Contribution of Women in Agriculture Purvi Mehta and Sapna Jarial International Livestock Research Institute Regional Conference of the International Network of Women Engineers and Scientists New Delhi, India, 12-13 October 2012
  2. 2. Outline• The Invisible Farmers and Need of Acknowledgement• Progress• Recommendations
  3. 3. The Invisible Farmers and Need of Acknowledgement The InvisibleFarm Farmers and Need of Acknowledgement Farm • Rapid Expansion of Indian economy has lead to feminization of agriculture. Women play an important role in agriculture and work spanning, from field crop, to livestock rearing, gardening, gathering and fishing. • In Uttarakhand women contribute 3485 hr/ha/year in a farm, while men (1212 h) and bullock (1064 h)contribution is far less. • Time contributed by women in agricultural operation is 32 % in India
  4. 4. Women as a labour force in developing countries•43 % of the agricultural labour force in developing countries•33% labour force in India FAO
  5. 5. • Women are important drivers of economic and ecological sustainability, their strategies diverse and their minds a rich source of indigenous knowledge, yet excluded in decision making.• 60 % of agricultural operation are performed by women . Male professional fail to see the contributions.• Men are less familiar with the scientific needs and priorities of women, and might encounter difficulties in targeting them because of specific socio-cultural norms (FAO,2012).• Farmer /Kisan means male farmer! Mind set reflected in policy and national programmes.
  6. 6. • Women as agri-entrepreneurs faces constraints:i. capital,ii. market access,iii. credit,iv. land ownership confidence/risk bearing capacity,v. technological knowledge /inputs, multiple workload and access to extension services and production assets like seed, water, etc. / services.vii. wage differentials between men and women
  7. 7. • Only 15% of the world’s extension agent are women, and 5% of women farmers benefit from the extension services.(GFRAS 2012).• The agriculture sector is underperforming in many developing countries, partly because women do not have the equal access to the resources and the opportunities they need to be more productive (FAO,2012).
  8. 8. ProgressProgress • Given the diversity of the agro-ecological and socio economic scenario in India, several effective laws, policies, and initiatives guarantee the protection and the empowerment of women farmers across the country. Meghalaya and Ladakh women control family policy and enjoy full inheritance laws. • Government of India’s Directorate of Research on Women in Agriculture and Planning Commission Gender and Agriculture Sub-group ensure better representation of women and consideration of gender issues during decision-making activities, including drafting and assessment of the Government’s Five Year plans.
  9. 9. • The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act aims at enhancing the livelihood security of people in rural areas by guaranteeing hundred days of wage- employment to a rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual labour, 54.26% women benefitted in financial year 2012-13.• Women Empowerment through “Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana” (MKSP), as a sub component of the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) and decided to provide support to the tune of Rs. 100 crore during 2010-11 budget.• Empowerment through working in group- Self Employed Women Association (SEWA) have access to resources, information market, credit, and they manage their income.
  10. 10. RecommendationRecommendation • Need of paradigm shift at the policy level, operational level and social level. • Women’s role in agriculture and food security requires acknowledgement and has to come at center stage in policy. • The women farmer must receive rights to land, receive inputs of technology, skill, information, market access and credit. • Review of the land right policies and implementation of land distribution for gender equality and women’s land rights is a prerequisite for making the role of women in agriculture visible. • Only by recognizing the ‘invisible’ half we will be able to meet the challenges of the gender equality. • Awareness and legal literacy to women at Panchayat levels.
  11. 11. • Gender perspective must be introduced in the agricultural curriculum.• National Policy initiatives like the Farmer’s right initiative should clearly address concerns and priorities of women farmers.• Efficient , effective, drudgery free technologies and trainings for operation in food production.• National and State Plans should be gender sensitive and should empower farm women.• More capacity building and training programs should be developed to empower women and equip them with the right skills.
  12. 12. ConclusionConclusion •The women farmer must receive rights to land, receive inputs of technology, skill, information market access and credit. • •Her enormous workload must be lightened and she has to be given due recognition as an equal partners in development.
  13. 13. Better lives through livestock The presentation has a Creative Commons licence. You are free to re-use or distribute this work, provided credit is given to ILRI.