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Empowering Women Farmers

Why is the agriculture sector important for India?

1. India derives 18% of its GDP from the agriculture sector.

2. The sector provides employment to about 50% of the national workforce.

3. The sector is important for the economy of the nation and it ensures food security to India.

4. Green Revolution introduced in the 1960s brought various developments.

5. It provided High Yielding Variety of crops, improved irrigation facilities, and mechanized farming.

6. Infrastructural developments in rural areas and financial services provided in the form of price support has made India self-sufficient in food production.

What is the role of women in agriculture sector?

1. Women’s role is vital in production, processing and distribution sector.

2. They play an important role in the management and rearing of livestock and other activities like fodder collection, post-harvest activities, etc.

3. The dependence of women on the primary sector signifies the need for creating and implementing schemes, programmes, etc. for their welfare and development.

Which provisions empower women in agriculture sector?

1. Support for Women Good Security Groups – Women are recognized for attaining food security at the domestic level, by setting up of kitchen garden, promoting off-farm activities with cattle.

2. Procurement of Agricultural machinery and equipment – Women farmers can avail benefits in tandem with, or over and above the benefits offered to men.

3. Representation – It is imperative for the women farmers to be included in the decision-making bodies – the State, District, Block Farmer Advisory Committees, etc.

4. Promoting Women Groups – Women’s groups, Cooperatives, SHGs to be incorporated by the States for the distribution of Certified Seeds.

5. Integrated Scheme for Agriculture Marketing – Women are empowered with subsidies for storage infrastructure more than the men.

6. Agriculture Insurance

7. To ensure that women in the agriculture sector are kept abreast of the latest technological and farm developments, the central government is making special provisions for women under various policies like PM Kaushal Vikas Yojana, organic farming, etc.

8. Focus is made on Women Self Help Groups (SHGs) to connect women to micro-credit, ensuring adequate representation of women in decision and policy-making bodies, etc.

How is ICAR supporting?

1. Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR), a central institute for women in agriculture in Bhubaneshwar, was established in 1996.

2. It undertakes various studies on gender implications in the agriculture sector and developing women-centered technology.

3. Various research projects of this institute cater to the provision of improved agriculture tools to women.

4. It mobilizes the SHGs with a view to increase the income generation.

5. The institute develops software and interfaces to facilitate mass media communication.

6. It carries out outreach programmes for educating and empowering rural women.

7. A gender knowledge portal has been created.

8. Its Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) trains women agriculturists.

Where to focus? 

1. Empowerment of women in an all-round manner can only come when they are educated about their health, social well-being, financial standing and political partaking.

2. Various necessary measures to provide technical, social and financial assistance to women have been introduced by the Government.

3. Numerous initiatives and welfare schemes are needed to further prop up the participation and growth of women workforce in the sector.