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Achieving Gender Equality through Empowering Women in Agriculture (AGEEWA)

Signing of AGEEWA MoU with GMM and PEACE on 31.03.2017 at Bomalaramaram, Yadadari District

Backdrop

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that women produce between 60- 80% of the food in most developing countries and are responsible for half of the world’s food production. In India, around 65.1% of female workers are engaged in agriculture sector as compared to only 49.8% of male workers. Within agriculture, across crops and regions, numerous micro-studies show that there are significantly more women-days that go into farming than men-days. As per the NSSO and Census reports an overwhelming majority of Indian women (60-75%) are involved in the agriculture either as ‘cultivators’ or ‘laborers’. Women’s contribution to agriculture, whether it is in subsistence or commercial, when measured in terms of number of tasks performed and time spent, is greater than men. Generally, operations performed by men are those that entail use of machinery and animals. Contrary to this, women always rely on physical labor using only their own energy. Not only are women overworked, their work is more arduous than that undertaken by men. Further, since women’s work is largely based on human energy it is considered as unskilled and hence less productive. As a result, women are invariably paid lesser wages despite working harder and for longer hours.


Gender discrimination runs deeper at many levels. Though women are involved in every aspect of farm work, they are not considered as farmers. They harvest and process the produce, but men largely control the market and income. Women farmers have limited access to inputs, seeds, credits, and extension services and are not provided adequate support through support systems. These gender differences affect the relative ability of female farmers and entrepreneurs to gain from new economic opportunities, representation and decision making.

In India, the discourse on women empowerment has been gradually evolving from seeing women as mere recipients of welfare benefits to engaging them in the development process. The National Policy for Farmers (2007) has acknowledged women farmers’ significant contribution and the need to address the lack of identity, visibility, support, rights and entitlements. The National Women Empowerment Policy 2016 envisages gender equity as an important concern for sustainable agricultural development. Though the policy environment seems to be encouraging, the affirmative action to transform such policies into programmes is inadequate, time-taking and at times completely lacking.


It is in this context felt necessary to work with especially women farmers and mobilise them into institutions for ensuring that their identity as farmers is ensured, and that their rights over resources realized and governments are influenced to make sure that various services and schemes accrue to women in their own right as farmers, women from the suicide farming families, and landless women engaged in various livelihood activities.

Awareness meeting @ Gouripally in Yadagiri gutta mandal organised by PEACE on 17.04.2017


Project Info


Goal    Achieve gender equality through enabling institutional platforms of the women in agriculture
Objective Promote and strengthen women farmer associations at Panchayat level through promoting innovations and capacity building and advocacy.                            
Location Ananthapuram and Yadadri district in Telangana.
Outreach 2000 women farmers, belonging to small landholding families with special focus on SC, ST and BC communities and 40 landless women and bringing 1000 acres of land under sustainable cultivation
Period April 2017 to March 2018
Donor AEIN, Luxembourg
Partnership    Accion Fraterna, REDS, GMM & PEACE
Team  Project Manager (50%), 4 CBOs, 16 Rythu Mithras
This project contributes to achieve SDG 5 - gender equality and SDG 13 – Climate Action

Project Deliverables


Major Activities and Achievements

  • Awareness & mobilization of women farmers
  • Promotion & strengthening of women farmer associations
  • Promote demo plots & package of practices
  • Promote millets & pulses cultivation
  • Promote innovations to adopt sustainable agriculture and undertake value chain interventions
  • Support landless women for supplementary livelihoods
  • Leverage support from government for women farmers and landless women
  • Knowledge management and support advocacy platforms of women farmers for assertion of their rights as farmers

The project is in the initiation stage and currently the focus is on creating awareness to women farmers and their families and mobilizing them into groups. The following are the achievements:

  • APMAS as a lead agency has entered into MoU with the four implementation agencies – two in the state of Andhra Pradesh and two in Telangana
  • The detailed action plan for the first quarter was worked out and discussed. APMAS has prepared the pamphlet on the project & the advantages of farmer institutions, and shared with the partners for dissemination in the awareness camps and meetings.
  • Field partners have identified the following Gram Panchayats in their respective mandals

  • # Partner District Mandal Gram Panchayat No of Villages
    1 Accion Fraterna Ananthapuramu Dharmavaram Pothulanagepalli 1
    Dharmapuri 2
    Mallakalva 2
    Ravalucheruvu 4
    2 REDS Ananthapuramu Rural Kurugunta 1
    Kamaruopalli 2
    Thaticherla 1
    Kodimi 1
    Chinampalli 2
    Poolakunta 1
    3 GMM Yadadri Bomalramaram Solipet 1
    Parwathapur 0
    Thimmapur 2
    Boinpally 1
    4 PEACE Yadagirigutta Choller 2
    Kacharam 2
    Gowraipally 1
    Saduvelli 1
  • Each NGO has organized two to three awareness camps in their respective GPs and discussed on the status of women farmers and the need to mobilizing them into farmer institutions for benefiting economies of scale
  • APMAS has facilitated the exposure visit to famer associations promoted by Reliance Foundation in Kamareddy for 60 women farmers and staff from GMM and PEACE. APMAS has also facilitated another exposure to Anantapur and the staff from all the four partners participated.
  • APAMS has prepared the format for profiling Gram Panchayats and Women farmers and shared with the farmers for finalization and utilization
  • Based on criteria developed, the partners have identified women farmers for demo plots; for promotion of millets & pulses; and women farmer leaders to play a proactive role in the project
  • About 20 landless women identified based on criteria for providing supplementary livelihood
  • Two convergence meetings held in Yadadri district with the mandal level officials for project promotion and leveraging government support services
  • 1000 women farmers mobilized in the selected GPs in four mandals

Major Challenges and Constraints


  • Mobilization of women farmers as exclusive members into the institution
  • Dependency syndrome due to various government schemes which leads to creating expectations
  • Cultivation of pulses and millets in lieu of cash crops

Way Forward

Trainings & orientations to women FPOs on sustainable agriculture, collective procurement of inputs, collective marketing; leveraging resources from government schemes; supporting advocacy for policy influencing towards empowerment of women farmers; learning & sharing of experiences with wider audience


Photos

Awareness meeting at Solipet village panchayat at Bomalramaram mandal on 21.04.2017 by GMM

Meeting at Parvathapur village of Bomalaramaram Mandal on 11.05.2017 facilitated by GMM & APMAS

Discussion with women and men on the AGEEWA project @ Kodimi Village by REDS

Discussion with women and men on the AGEEWA project @ Kodimi Village by REDS

Orientation cum awareness meeting on AGEEWA project @ Obalulanayepalli village on 27.05.2017 by AF Ecology Centre

Orientation cum awareness meeting on AGEEWA project @ Obalulanayepalli village on 27.05.2017 by AF Ecology Centre

60 women farmers, staff and Rythu Mithras from GMM and PEACE attended exposure visit to Reliance Foundation @Kammareddy on 30.05.2017

60 women farmers, staff and Rythu Mithras from GMM and PEACE attended exposure visit to Reliance Foundation @Kammareddy on 30.05.2017

Exposure for staff and Rythu Mithras of all the four NGOs at CCD, Penukonda on 26.05.2017 organised by APMAS