One more step towards women empowerment with technology in agriculture

Women empowerment is a gradual process. The aim is to allow women in the decision-making process. Bringing technology to them will make this process easier. LeanAgri has signed MoU with MAVIM to work alongside them towards the upliftment of rural women and help them achieve social, economic and financial empowerment.

Read the blog to know more about the benefits from this collaboration and the roadmap ahead…

Rural women today

According to Census report 2011, 70 per cent of Indians live in rural areas, out of which 48 per cent are women. Out of the 127 million, working women in India, 87.3 per cent are from rural areas. 65.1 per cent of female workers depend on agriculture for their livelihood and work as cultivators or agricultural labourers. Women’s participation in the agricultural sectors is mostly labour-intensive. They work in rice cultivation, tea plantations, cotton cultivation, oilseeds production, and are mostly involved in sowing, weeding, and post-harvest activities. Still, they are considered ‘unskilled’ and are not considered as labour. The women, who are involved in the kitchen garden, animal husbandry, processing of harvest, consider their work as home-based and as an extension of their household work. Women farmers’ contribution in farming and their work in the field remain invisible. Women farmers require specialized agricultural training, childcare, and customized support to ease their double workload as farmers and caregivers. The right resources at the right place and right time could help rural women maximize economic opportunities, increase productivity, and improve food security, education, and healthcare. Since women tend to reinvest in their households, training them effectively will ensure the overall development of the community.

MAVIM for women

Since its inception in 1975, MAVIM, government body functions in the state of Maharashtra, has generated many women’s empowerment programs with the aim to empower marginal women. They believe that women empowerment is not a program, but a gradual process and thus MAVIM has taken tireless effort to initiate, expand and establish the SHG movement in the state. By promoting the strength in unity and community development, MAVIM has enabled the rural women to think and plan for development, to take initiative in decision-making and execute it.

Their mission is to bring gender justice and equality for women, invest in human capital and the capacity building of women, thus making them economically and socially empowered and enabling them to access sustainable livelihoods. They train the SHG with bookkeeping, leadership development, monitoring and evaluation, Gender sensitization, and then forms village level committee which later clusters to form CMRCs. CMRC – Community managed resource centre is a federation of around 15-200 SHGs formed in a cluster of around twenty villages, within the radius of 20-25 km.

LeanAgri for farmers

With the mission to bridge the gap between farming and technology, LeanAgri strives to provide critical resources to farmers at appropriate times to implement the technologies and utilize the resources available in order to get maximum yield. The vision is to increase the incomes of farmers by increasing farm yields through the systematic implementation of scientific technique and regular monitoring, with their product, BharatAgri, designed as technology solutions for farmers to provide best in practice agronomy techniques with real-time data-driven assistance. The services personalized to nurture farmlands and lives by revolutionizing farming with advanced solutions built on technology. The important feature of their service is online to offline doorstep service. After the farmer gets on board, BharatAgri associate visits the farm and collects data. The farmers get season-long predictive crop calendar along with information and guidance regarding seed selection, nutrient management, irrigation management, weather prediction, and crop protection.

Benefits for women farmers

The project will ensure the transformation of the rural economy and the empowerment of women farmers. MAVIM will coordinate and organize training to initiate the progress of the collaboration. LeanAgri has been working with over 4000 farmers. With this project, they will contribute to the livelihood generation of women farmers by delivering the right techniques and play the role of the technology partner in this collaboration with MAVIM. For LeanAgri this will be a crucial project as this project involves women farmers who are in dire need to be trained and skilled with technology to grow efficiently and grow more.

Women are involved in labour-intensive agriculture practices that invite drudgery. Women farmers have inadequate access to agricultural extension and training services. Reaching the women farmers where they are and through information channels, they trust, like women’s groups, SHGs, and CMRCs, can ensure that women know about the technology and methods to use it. Knowledge of agricultural practices is important for productivity, thus it is important that training and agricultural technologies are accessible and adapted to rural women’s needs and constraints. Rural women own fewer assets and have less access to inputs and services. When women are equipped with technology and provided essential resources and market linkage, they can make farming more productive and commercially viable.

Road map ahead

Initially, the project has started with 1000 women farmers on board and there are plans to reach 10000 women farmers and link them with this collaboration. Already pieces of training are taking place to address the question raised by the prospective women farmers and to understand their economic situation. Training regarding the package of practices and crop schedule is given. This collaboration will provide the platform to the women farmers to connect with technology and empower themselves, to be the driving force in their development and in the development of the community. LeanAgri will provide timely information on farming practices that farmers need to take up during the course of the cropping season. The women farmers will get a need-based nutrient management schedule for efficient utilization of available resources and to obtain residue free produce.

The aim is to bridge the knowledge, gender, and digital gap and empower rural communities by fostering inclusive development and participatory communication by promoting equitable access to information and knowledge. This will help women farmers make informed decisions and improve their livelihoods.

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