Women and Agriculture: A Modern Approach

Women and men play different roles in any given community. The inequality between men and women in the development process arises not only from differences in their culturally ascribed roles but also from the unequal distribution of economic resources and political power between sexes.

Women are regarded as the subjects as well as the objects of development. They are people who are much more than being mothers, wives and daughters whose place in the development process cannot just be taken for granted. They are also the backbone of the agricultural development of rural and national economies. As per World Farmers’ Organization (WFO), women comprise 43% of the world’s  agricultural labor force, which rises to 70% in some countries.

National Irrigation Administration (NIA) through the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II (JRMP II) acknowledges the importance of women in the society especiallyin agriculture. The Land Acquisition and Resettlement Action Plan (LARAP) of the project identifies women headed families for prioritization of interventions and assistance.

Rural women, the same as women of the JRMP II affected families, should be viewed as experts who possess knowledge instead of being treated as mere beneficiaries.

It is observed that women’s groups, in general, are more active in the affairs of their organization.  Also, trainings for livelihood progress and skills acquisition sponsored by government and non-government agencies are attended more by women than men. Thus, women have more access to information making them more sensitive and considerate of the possible negative effects of their every action.

Women also play significant role in the post harvest phase. They are usually involved in processing and commercialization of such products. Hence, JRMP II is focusing on the appreciation of their role as producers of wealth and strengthening the network of public services in rural areas including health, education, and other social services.

The training of rural women is very important especially with the adoption of modern agricultural techniques tailored to local conditions. Moreover, usage of natural resources in a sustainable manner with a goal to achieve economic development without degrading the environment. /JP (VANESSA M. TSE WING)