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Empowering Agriculture: The Crucial Role of Women in Farming

Since 2019-20, the Government of India has promoted natural farming through the Bharatiya Prakritik Krishi Paddhati (BPKP), a sub-scheme of the Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY). Given the strength of Natural Farming and the success gained in certain areas, BPKP is being scaled up in Mission Mode as a distinct program known as the “National Mission on Natural Farming” (NMNF).

The implementation of the NMNF, including pre-production, production, and post-production activities, is organized through Community Based Organizations, such as women Self Help Groups (SHGs) and their federations – Krishi Sakhis, Pashu Sakhis, and so on.

These organizations may also be perfect for establishing and/or operating Bio-input Resource Centers, as well as serving as extended branches of different central institutions for mission implementation.

To overcome the gender gap in agricultural extension services, the Agriculture Technology Management Agency (ATMA), a government supported initiative, has established suitable provisions for women in farming under the “Support to State Extension Programmes for Extension Reforms.” Women’s food security organizations are encouraged under ATMA principles.

Farm Women’s Food Security Groups (FSGs) of at least two per block are to be created each year to ensure family food and nutritional security. These FSGs receive funding for training, publishing, and input access at a cost of Rs.10000 per group. These FSGs also function as “Model Food Security Hubs” by constructing kitchen gardens, backyard poultry, goatery, animal husbandry & dairying, mushroom cultivation, and other similar activities. Furthermore, according to ATMA criteria, 30% of recipients must be women farmers/farm women.

In addition, the guideline under 4.1.4 (i) Minimum 30% of resources meant for programmes and activities are required to be allocated to women farmers and women extension functionaries. 

According to the guidelines, one-third of the non-official members nominated for the ATMA Governing Body will be women farmers. Furthermore, at least one-third of the members of the Block Farmer Advisory Committee (BFAC) and State Farmers Advisory Committee (SFAC) will be women among progressive farmers. Women should be adequately represented on the District Farmers Advisory Committee (DFAC). To protect the interests of female farmers, ATMA’s Gender Coordinator will execute the following responsibilities.

  • Ensure flow of benefits under all schemes to women farmers.
  • Collection of gender dis-aggregated data, and conducting studies and action research in critical thrust areas
  • Promote Farm women’s Food Security Groups and prepare training module so as to ensure household food security.
  • Document the best practices/ Success Stories/ Participatory Material Production related to women in Agriculture
  • Block-wise documentation, prioritization and addressal of farm women’s needs and requirements in agriculture and all allied sectors
  • Will report to State Coordinator in r/o gender related information

Additionally, women are thought to assist creative initiatives under ATMA by acting as farmer friends in the communities. Women recipients will get 44% of the subsidy under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare’s Central Sector Scheme of Agri. Clinics and Agri. Business Centres (AC&ABC), while others would receive 36%.

The National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management (MANAGE), the Nodal organization and information repository for Bhartiya Prakritik Krishi Padhati (BPKP), has organized 997 One Day Awareness Programs on Natural Farming for Gram Pradhans across the country, encompassing 56,952 Gram Pradhans.

There are 17626 female participants. A website on Natural Farming and Knowledge Repository has been built, and information on natural farming collected from various research and academic institutions has been uploaded to the website for the benefit of many stakeholders, including women farmers.

Natural Farming study material created in 22 regional languages for Gram Pradhans was distributed during the Gram Pradhans awareness initiative for the benefit of farmers, particularly women farmers.

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Source: LOK SHABHA & PIB

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