Sunday, 6 January 2008

Feminisation of Indian Agriculture


January 4, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Visakhapatnam, Jan 3: With the Indian agriculture getting increasingly feminised, the Central government has decided to launch a national virtual congress of Mahila Kisans.
The first national virtual congress of Mahila Kisans farmers will be opened officially on January 5 enabling women farmers, to begin with, in five States to share agricultural knowledge and exchange on-field ideas with their counterparts and scientists.
Women ryots from Moosapet in Addakal mandal (AP), Thiruvaiyaru (Tamil Nadu), Koraput (Orissa), Waifad and Yavatmal (Maharashtra), and Pokran (Rajasthan) will join the deliberations of the 95th Indian Science Congress being held in this port city through a satellite link developed by the Indian Space Research organization.
Together with Andhra University and ISRO, MS Swaminathan Research Foundation has designed the virtual congress of mahila kisans to highlight to the scientific community the urgent need for attending to the technological requirements of women farmers. The women farmers hail from arid, semi-arid, coastal, hill and irrigated areas and will discuss both the opportunities and constraints facing women in agriculture.
Agriculture provides 57 per cent of India’s total employment and 73 per cent of India’s total rural employment. Women constitute 73 per cent of the agricultural workforce. “Agriculture is getting increasingly feminised, in view of the growing migrations of men belonging to small and marginal farmer families to urban areas, seeking alternative livelihoods, because of the uneconomic nature of small scale farming particularly in rain-fed areas lacking assured irrigation,” says Dr MS Swaminathan.
The future of Indian agriculture as well as food security will depend largely on the skills, technological, financial and managerial empowerment of rural and tribal women.

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