Women in Agriculture

Agriculture in rural communities define as ancestral tradition, social relations and gender-inclusive roles. Women in the agricultural sector, whether through traditional means or as an agricultural labourer, represents a significant role. As key players in the field of agriculture and those in charge of ensuring adequate nutrition for their families, rural women are at the centre of this challenge. Rural women are responsible for the integrated management and use of diverse natural resources to meet their daily household needs.

‘Action is the foundational key to success’ finds resonance with Manisha Lodhi, a resident of Shaasan village of Shahgarh of Sagar Madhya Pradesh. Living in a small house with her family who barely met their food requirement 3-4yrs back. Having 1.5acres of land with the conventional farming system in rain-fed conditions, it was not so easy to have sufficient food for all year round. Manisha was among to suffer not only from economic poverty but also from information poverty. Based on their culture and custom, she must work silently, struggling to complete her household duties from dawn to dusk. Every year they used to take loans from people/market to buy costly hybrid seeds, fertilisers, and pesticides to have good production. Due to the high infestation of pests and diseases, she was not getting sufficient production. To meet their food requirement, her husband had to migrate to a nearby town in search of labour works while she had to remain herself alone with her children.

On initiation of Strengthening Adaptive Farming in Bangladesh India & Nepal (SAFBIN), Udayabhan Lodhi (her husband) shared with Manisha (his wife) about the concept and they both went to discuss their challenges and expressed interest to be a member of smallholder farmers collectives. Over the periods, Manisha silently learned the procedure and practices from her husband carefully. They took on-farm trial on wheat where they got remarkable production 80Kgs of wheat out of mere 250gms of seeds.Manisha joined a women’s Self-Help Group ‘Sri Ram Swayong Sahayata Samoh’ and become the secretary. She used to share the learnings and practices followed in OFAR. On sharing, she realised to start a nutritional garden that she can manage along with domestic work. She is having more than 12 varieties of vegetables now in her small garden and sold almost 300kgs last season with an income of INR 15500/- per month.

Not buying any vegetables for home consumption helped her to save a considerable amount of money. Now, she feels more confident and looks forward to many more profitable seasons though, kitchen garden did not provide enough means to step out of poverty, yet the boom of vegetables in her garden provided her with the much-needed self-confidence and helped her to meet some of the immediate needs of her family.

Sagar, 16. Oktober 2018.

“I do admit that there is an improvement in the nutrition status of my family, though it is not possible for me to measure the same at this stage. However, the diversification of the menu in my family and the regular intake of green & fresh vegetables have improved our health”, says Manisha.