Women constitute about 49% of our population & play multiple roles and responsibilities not only for food production & processing but also for their household duties. In the present era of agriculture farm women take up an active role in farming, higher farm production and productivity. Women have a bright future in the field of agriculture as it is an evergreen profession & involves much scope for future.
In the arena of agri-preneurship some of the areas of success areas include Horticulture, Agriculture, Cultivation of Vegetables, Fish Farming, Mushroom Cultivation, Poultry Farming, Apiculture, Dairy, Landscaping, Livestock management, Vegetable preservation, Processing of fruits and vegetables, Vermi-composting and Nursery raising
There are two ways to empower women in Agriculture & entrepreneurship. One, by making appropriate decision and two, with proper insight into present agriculture prospects. Yet they are far behind and need be adequately empowered to take up future challenges. Empowering farm women for better quality of life is an important & burning issue today. In rural setting training in entrepreneurship development coupled with knowledge about market prove to be an effective approach for motivating farm women for their socio-economic empowerment. So the emphases must be on.
• Optimization of technology, human resources, energy inputs which are essential for sustainable Agriculture production
• Focus on Agriculture & allied knowledge base intervention
• Mobilize women through group approach for sustainable livelihood
Extension approach and strategies followed for transfer of technologies to farm women are required to satisfy their specific needs and problems. Thrust needs to be given on cultivation technology improved agricultural tools and implements, institutional approach for empowerment and inculcating approach for empowerment through entrepreneurial skill. Co-ordination is to be made among technology generation, technology disseminations and technology receiving system. The empowering strategies would need be further sharpened to make effective and result oriented.
Thrust is to be given on Technological empowerment which includes Cultivation technology, seed treatment, soil testing, seed germination, integrated pest management, organic farming, bio fertilizer, natural resource conservation and improved fodder quality. Improved agriculture tools and implements usually designed should be women friendly & gender compatible, easy to maintain & safe to use. Maize sheller, wheel hand hoe, improved sickle fertilizer broadcaster, etc are suitable & appreciated by farm women. Such equipment shall be popularized/promoted among the farm women.
Moreover there is a need to have an institutional approach for empowerment. Self Help Group should be followed for mobilization of farm women for sustainable livelihood. The village based institutional approach in empowerment has higher success rate as compared to the individual approach. In cultivating skill empowerment for farm women is essential with only to increase their status but also be supplement their family income. Women have potential for self help development but this must be tapped for productive purposes through economically viable projects & activities. We have very good examples of this functioning through agro based enterprises in Jammu & Kashmir State such as vermicomposting, nursery raising, processing and value addition of fruits, and vegetables, mushroom cultivation, apiculture, sericulture, poultry management have great potential to empower farm women.
(Prof Afshan Gul and Dr. Poonam Sharma teach at SKUAST-K, Shalimar. Emails firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com)