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India celebrates the day dedicated to women on farm

15th October is celebrated as National Women Farmer’s Day or Rashtriya Mahila Kisan Diwas’ in India. Every year, on this day of activities and programmes, are organized – mainly to empower women in the field of agriculture. But, before celebrating and discussing the role of women in agriculture, it is necessary for all of us to think about certain things. What is the position of women in the field of agriculture? Women have always been an important part of agriculture not only in India but all over the world, then why all of a sudden, new schemes and initiatives are being launched for women in this field? Women empowerment is always discussed in all the booming sectors, then what triggered the need of empowered women agriculturists now? – Today, on National Women Farmer’s Day, we will be discussing it in detail. 

Women have always been the core of farming ever since agriculture is known to mankind. The study shows that approximately more than 80% of women in rural India depend on agriculture for their livelihood. Among the entire farming community, more than 30% of women are cultivators themselves and more than 45% are the ones that serve as agricultural laborers. This just shows that women are the major driving force in the agricultural sector. 

 

The contribution of women in the agricultural sector is known to all, however, they always got lesser importance than they actually deserve. This mainly happens because women were always the part of organized force in small-scale agriculture and subsistence farming. Like every other sector, agriculture also faces male dominance (despite women being the majority contributors farming). It is a very saddening part that agriculture is no exception where women wage earners are paid fewer wage than men. Women also face the lack of encouragement if they are willing to do anything extraordinary in agriculture, and their efforts get limited to be a farm worker/labourer. 

As it is said, ‘change is inevitable’. Past several years have witnessed a change in the scenario in the field of agriculture. The role of women in agriculture is still the same but the acceptance today has increased in society. People are welcoming the idea of 'womenpreneurs' in the agricultural sector. This picture can improve even more with offering proper education, training, and know-how of new techniques; offering opportunities to women along with extension activities can improve the role of women in agriculture. If women are given a chance to take part in decision making, the entire community will benefit for sure. 

It is an open secret and a known fact that women are best at multitasking and efficient at whatever they do. Agriculture is no exception to the fact. Women have a major role in agriculture and given a chance, it can benefit our country. To recognize and promote this capacity of women, there are number of initiatives taken by Government as well as private organisations. On one hand, initiatives like Self-Help Groups (SHGs), Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Prayojana (MKSP) etc. are taken by the Government, while on the other hand projects like ‘Prerna’ are under taken by the private sector organisation, to provide women-friendly, efficient and ergonomic farm tools and equipment. 

Role of women in agriculture is evident through various success stories from all the parts of our country. It is seen that women are keen to work in agricultural sector and are taking bold steps towards it. Two sisters in North India left their government jobs to enter into organic farming and convinced their entire village to grow organic, assuring them the market. On the other hand, an engineer woman from South India quit her job to enter the field and works on hydroponics today. A girl takes responsibility of her old parents and four younger sisters only by doing full-fledged farming and earning fair profit. These are just few examples and many more is to come. 

All this shows how important is the role of women in agriculture and when given an opportunity they can change the face of Indian agriculture. So, all women out there don’t hesitate to follow your heart and give out your success story. Best wishes to all the women agriculturists, on this National Women Agriculturist Day. I thank all those fathers, brothers, husbands who stood as a support for our women agriculturists. 

About author

Niharika Kondhalkar 
Founder 
Nisargavalay Uniagro 

 



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