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Empowering women farmers

Published on: Friday, 14th February 2020

Author: Priyanka Khullar

ActionAid Association, together with its allies, has been working for the rights of women across states. A major focus area for us has been our work with women in agriculture. Our efforts have been aimed towards ensuring the recognition of women as farmers and protection and promotion their rights.

In Bihar’s Nalanda district, Nav Bihar Samaj Kalyan Pratisthan Kendra (NBSKPK) and ActionAid Association have been supporting women of Mahila Adhikar Morcha (MAM), a women’s forum, across 80 villages in 12 panchayats of three blocks of the district. Through collective actions, MAM has been able to address violence against women; and has facilitated strengthening of schools, provision of wage work for women and women’s collective farming. One of NBSKPK’s greatest achievements has been the women’s collectives it has nurtured. In July 2018, a women’s cooperative was registered under the name, Bihar Bahuddesiya Mahila Vikas Svavlambi Sahkaari Private Limited (BBMVSSPL), and has since been actively working towards empowering its member women farmers economically, besides providing a platform and opportunities for leadership to Dalit, backward and Muslim women. Within this short span, 564 women are already engaged in collective farming and it has been a widely successful model – not only providing economic security but also fostering sustainable farming practices and food security. Read more here.

In Uttarakhand, Association for Rural Planning and Action (ARPAN) and ActionAid Association, with support from Oracle, have been working towards the empowerment of women farmers from marginalized communities in Pithoragarh district. Running across 15 villages spread over three blocks of the district, this initiative is building capacities of women on various issues, besides facilitating the formation and strengthening of women’s collectives. We are pleased to share that 16 women’s farming collectives have been formed across the 15 intervention villages with a total membership of more than 800 women farmers. As part of this initiative, through training programmes and exposure visits, these women farmers have been oriented on low-cost farming techniques, climate-resilient sustainable agriculture, vegetable farming techniques, seedbanks, tool-banks, formation of vermicompost as well as the marketing of agricultural produce. Besides, these women have been linked with several government schemes and entitlements. Several women are now growing vegetables in their kitchen gardens, and they are happy to see fresh, nutritious and healthy food being consumed by them and their families! You would be happy to learn that these women have also now started selling their produce in the local market and are making good profits. To know more about their efforts, click here.

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