On 8th of August, M.S Swaminathan Research Foundation held a series of lectures on the “Role of family farming in the 21st century: Achieving the zero hunger challenge by 2025” with its concentration on family farming and gender relations.
The eminent speakers were Dr. Nitya Rao and Mr Amit Mitra . Dr Nitya is a professor at East Anglia, UK teaching gender and development and Mr Amit Mitra is an independent researcher based in New Delhi. The chair was presided by Mr Kanayo Nwanze, President, International Fund for Agricultural Development.
Mrs Bhere, a woman farmer and a discussant in the seminar.
The seminar concentrated on the Indian economy, the era of liberalization and the role of women in the sector of farming. Dr Nitya Rao stressed on the immense restrictions put on women traditionally and their low income status due to illiteracy and unfair work load.
“Traditionally, women had low status due to immense work load and illiteracy. They had no direct access to money and were dependent variably on their male counterparts. But now the scenario has changed as women too have emerged as farmers. Statistical data has proved that economic activities managed by women have increased productivity by 70%. They have set up pioneers before men as their empowerment means higher economic growth leading to better community and ultimately a better society.”, said Dr Rao.
Also Mr Mitra spoke about the Indian economy and the introduction of liberalized policies which brought immense changes to the private sector. He stressed on the need to change the farming roles and patterns in India and called out for better employment and educational opportunities for women.
Chair president Mr. Kanayo emphasized on the stark gender divide where men are better suited for non-farming jobs such as oil refineries, fertilizer companies, mining etc but on the other hand women are forced into prostitution to generate more income. This is largely due to the lack of training and skill in the female gender and their lowly wages.
The seminar was concluded by Mr. Swaminathan, founder of MSSRF.