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#EachforEqual: Women in Agriculture

Female population in individual countries ranges from 27% to 54% and in India it is 49.58%. 60-75% among the total is involved with various farming operations. Studies also show that 30, 3597 women from farm households have been suddenly left to fend for themselves, to manage the home and the farm. However when it comes to women farmers another kind of invisibilation occurs. It is high time we give them equality in this domain not just for reasons around poverty, food security etc, but because these are their rights too! 

To give special emphasis to “Women in Agriculture”, Agriculture World is brought out a special edition in the month of March 2020 and the theme for the same is #EachforEqual. We have tried recognizing to our best the contribution of women to our food & farming systems”. We have to help Uphold women farmers’ rights and ensure that their identity as farmers is ensured and that their rights over resources are realized. Without access to land and capital, women’s equality as agricultural producers would be a far fledged dream to be realized in the Asian countries. “Inclusive transformative agricultural policy” should aim at gender-specific interventions to raise the productivity of small farm holdings, integrate women as active agents in rural transformation, and engage men and women in extension services with gender expertise. Improving women’s access to education, health, and economic resources will lead to a better world for not only women and children, but the world. 

Agriculture World March issue has tried integrating women from all parts of the World in the March issue. We have elaborated on many women oriented issues like requests on the “Status of Women Farmers in Farm Suicide Families”, and also becomes a voice for MAKAAM to demand a special support package from the government. Jitu Mishra elaborates on Kamala Pujari, a farmer herself and recipient of several awards, Kamala Pujari is an inspiring force for several agro-scientists working in different parts of India. Hand in Hand elaborates on their work with rural women over the last 15 years and Stories of Success. The story of Rimpu Bragta is of hard work, patience, rejections and eventual triumph. The story ends with a note that she is resilient and determined to fight it out her own way and hopes that the future is kind.  

Humans Who Grow Food, a digital platform is collaborating with Agriculture World which features stories of home gardeners, farmers and community gardens across borders and cultures. Anamika Bisht in conversation with Agriculture World explains her Experiential Learning of organic method of growing #GrowYourOwn Food and #EatWhatYouGrow and with community farming. Pradan’s Stories show grit and determination and how empowered tribal women are and how they do not resign to circumstances and is ever ready to extend their new technical skills to other sisters in her village. Together they can be a force for good, a force for change.  

Crafting Tea is Art says, Sonia Jabbar of Nuxabari Tea and like a true artist, the tea master really doesn’t have all the answers, remaining a student for life, experimenting, failing, learning and re-learning, perfecting the craft, which always remains short of perfection. Jui, as a part of Climate Collective explains how passionate she is about reaching out to innovations at the local level and supporting them to be viable and scalable. SRIJAN, (Self Reliant Initiatives through Joint Action) a development agency, rekindles the story of how they intervened in the Bundi area in 2008 with the aim of promoting the cultivation of soybean in a scientific manner and formed SAMRIDHI, a women Soyabean producers company. 

Pragati Chaswal at SowGood explains her movement to build a nature-aware society with weekly farming sessions, School Farms in government schools in Delhi and workshops that range from natural farming to making zero-waste soaps, forays into urban ecology, bird watching and much more. The Editor herself met some amazing women from Trichur District, Kerala and she elaborates on how they have opened up avenues for themselves in the areas of Organic farming, Paddy cultivation, Aquaponics, Cattle farming and also Fish farming in their lands.  We need to take more active steps to integrate women as agents in transformation of society as a whole, and need to improve their access to basic resources like education, health, and economic resources. This will lead to a better world for not only women and children, but the world.  

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