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Women in Agriculture


She Stands Tall: How women are revolutionizing India's agri & allied space

She Stands Tall: How women are revolutionizing India's agri & allied space

For centuries, women have been the backbone of India's agricultural sector, silently toiling in fields and contributing significantly to food security. However, their immense contribution has often gone unnoticed.

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NEW DELHI, 8 March 2024: For centuries, women have been the backbone of India's agricultural sector, silently toiling in fields and contributing significantly to food security. However, their immense contribution has often gone unnoticed.

Today, that narrative is changing. Women are emerging as powerful changemakers, driving innovation and growth across the entire agri-allied sector.

The Unsung Heroes: Women's Enduring Role in Agriculture

Women in rural India form a significant chunk of the agricultural workforce. Estimates suggest that they comprise around 33% of the total agricultural labor force and contribute to nearly 60-80% of the food produced in the country [1]. Their roles are diverse, encompassing activities like sowing, weeding, harvesting, and post-harvest processing.

However, traditional gender norms often limit women's access to land ownership, credit facilities, and technological advancements. This hinders their ability to fully participate in agricultural decision-making and reap the benefits of their labor.

Empowering Women: A Catalyst for Growth

Recognizing the immense potential of women in agriculture, various initiatives are fostering an environment that empowers them. Here's how women are leading the charge in India's agri-allied sector:

  • Entrepreneurship and Innovation: Women are increasingly venturing into agribusiness ventures. They're establishing micro-enterprises in areas like organic farming, processing and value-addition of agricultural products, and setting up farmer producer organizations (FPOs) to improve market access.

  • Driving Technological Adoption: Technological advancements in agriculture are crucial for improving productivity and efficiency. Women are actively embracing these advancements. From using mobile apps for weather forecasting and pest control to adopting precision farming techniques, they are demonstrating a willingness to learn and adapt.

  • Knowledge Sharing and Leadership: Women are playing a crucial role in knowledge dissemination within rural communities. Self-help groups and farmer collectives led by women are promoting best practices, sustainable farming methods, and financial literacy among other women farmers.

  • Allied Activities: Beyond the Fields: The agri-allied sector encompasses a vast array of activities beyond crop production. Women are making significant contributions in areas like livestock rearing, dairying, fisheries, and horticulture. Their expertise in these areas not only contributes to household income but also strengthens the rural economy.

Examples of Women Leading the Way

Across India, inspiring stories showcase the transformative power of women in agriculture. Here are a few examples:

  • Sridevi, a progressive farmer from Andhra Pradesh, embraced organic farming methods and became a role model for other women in her village.
  • Shanta Devi, a dairy entrepreneur from Maharashtra, established a successful dairy cooperative, empowering other women to become financially independent.
  • Anandibai, a fisheries expert from Tamil Nadu, pioneered sustainable aquaculture practices, inspiring women to take up fish farming in coastal communities.

Challenges and the Road Ahead

Despite their significant contributions, women in agriculture continue to face challenges. Lack of land ownership, limited access to credit and training, and unequal decision-making power remain hurdles.

Overcoming these hurdles requires a multi-pronged approach

  • Policy initiatives that promote land ownership rights for women and provide them with easy access to credit and financial resources.
  • Skill development programs that equip women with the necessary knowledge and expertise to adopt new technologies and best practices.
  • Promoting women's leadership in agricultural institutions and decision-making processes.

Conclusion

Women are not just contributing to India's agri-allied sector; they are transforming it. By empowering women farmers and entrepreneurs, India can unlock its full agricultural potential and ensure sustainable growth in the years to come. As Sridevi, the Andhra Pradesh farmer, aptly says, "If you empower a woman, you empower a family, and ultimately, the entire nation."

Image credit: TERI


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