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A declining trend in the involvement of women in agriculture

A declining trend in the involvement of women in agriculture, and how Good Farming – Good Food aspires to meet the challenge

An unusual issue that features in almost every farming community across the world is that very few women farm in their own right. Most of the glaring farming activities are dominated by men, whereas women involvement is limited to looking after the house and provide support for family’s farming in every way possible. Even after her all-inclusive assistance, the work of women in agriculture-related professions goes unrecognised. A common denominator of- no ownership and no decision-making rights remains dominant in society. A similar trend is seen when the land passes from father to son and not to the daughter. The patrilinear line of inheritance further confirms the under-representation of women in agriculture.

The article examines how Reena Nagar sets aside the usual trend of under-representation of women in farming by guiding the women from the farming community of her village Bakaniya. Along the lines, she also inspires rural entrepreneurship in agriculture by managing a lending business of farm equipment and encouraging others to step in a similar direction.

Coming from a small farming settlement situated in the district of Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, Reena Nagar has shown an extraordinary level of commitment in completing her academics in pressing circumstances. Through her dedication, she has earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and a Diploma in Elementary Education. Reaffirmed by the skills of institutional teaching acquired through her academics, her efforts as a field associate trainer for Good Farming – Good Food resonates amongst her farming community. Reena has been working as a field associate for the programme since 2018. Everyone in her village acknowledges her unwavering commitment to farm training and support.

As the eldest and the most educated in the family of 8, she helped her father manage a small family business of leasing agricultural implements and provided her support in the fields. Reena credits her unprejudiced father who never hesitated in bringing a relatively young girl to the business and farming front.

Her father passed away in the year 2014. The entire responsibility of a moderately large family fell on the shoulders of a nineteen-year-old Reena who was the only one who knew her way around the family business.

The entire weight of providing for the family came down on me soon after my father passed away. I was still studying, and thus had a difficult time shuffling between my academics and family requirements. 

Reena braved her way out of the testing times with considerable struggle. Growing problem related to declining yield and absence of guidance often plagued her throughout her education. While supporting her four young siblings’ education, Reena brought back a stable income to the family by continuing to supply her father’s agricultural implements like tractors and harvester to the farmers. Her experience in farming and penchant for leading the group training earned her the role of field agent for the programme Good Farming – Good Food.

By combining the sustainable farming methods with prior knowledge of farming from her father, Reena transformed the face of farming, for both- her family and for her villagers. She has successfully applied the best farming practices to her soybean, chickpeas and wheat crops. Also, the farmers from villages like Dhamaniya, Khajuri and Khoyri are improving their agricultural practices through her training sessions. Her expanse of influence through agricultural training also helps in creating a customer base for her lending business. As a service, Reena unselfishly assists her client in using the agricultural implements effectively and advises them on combining the biological and technological aspects of farming practices.

Farming prosperity depends upon the degree of cooperation across gender. The glowing examples of Reena in farming as a promising entrepreneur and a motivated instructor proves that the women in India are the silent heroes behind successful farming. The vital role of women in the public space of agriculture is essential for the farming community’s overall growth. The programme Good Farming – Good Food strives to uplift women’s involvement in agriculture and actively supports budding entrepreneurs from the rural community.