Nov 8, 2014

I Want My Land

79% of economically active women in India are engaged in agriculture and women constitute 40 percent of the agricultural workforce and this percentage is increasing. Despite playing extensive role in agriculture, women are most often not recognized as farmers. Contribution of women farmers remain neglected at all the levels including family, social, economy and political level. One of the reasons of non- recognition of women’s contribution on agriculture production system is her limited access to and control over land ; In India, women farmers own less than 9 % of agricultural land, which debars her from accessing government schemes and institutional credit. Further, design of agricultural programmes and trainings are biased towards male members and rarely takes needs and concerns of women farmers in account during formulating agriculture programmes which limits women farmers’ scope of knowledge up gradation and skill enhancement.

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Without access to land, hard working women farmers remain marginalised. They are usually not recognized because of their limited control over land.

Studies in India found direct association between women’s increasing access to property and reducing violence against women.

In Uttar Pradesh, one of the Oxfam India’s focus states in agriculture and the largest province of India, 21.15% of total cultivators are female cultivators and 38.47% are female agricultural laborers. In the state, only 6% of women own land, less than 1% has participated in government training programs, 4% have access to institutional credit and only 8% have control over agricultural income.

Besides, the implication of women’s inaccessibility to and not having control over land, and non-recognition of her agriculture labor in the macro level, it has implication at the micro level too; it limits her decision making and having control over agriculture production system. Odisha, another Oxfam India’s focus states where 21.29% of total cultivators are female cultivators and 48.25% of total agricultural laborers are female agriculture laborers; one study conducted in the state in the year 2004 found that besides in selling of crops/ cereals/ vegetables which is 10.7%, women’s decision making on agriculture activities at household level is less than 3%.

Women’s increased access to land not only will address women’s immediate needs of accessing to government schemes and programmes, and institutional credit system; but will also fulfill her strategic need and empower her to actively participate in household and community level decision making. Studies in India found direct association between women’s increasing access to property resources such as land and reducing violence against women. Besides, land ownership is directly proportional to agriculture production enhancement and Vietnam has already proven this.

Without access to land, hard working women farmers remain marginalised. They live a life of financial insecurity despite playing an extensive role in agriculture. Women are usually not recognized because of their limited control over land. This leads to women farmers being denied access to government schemes and institutional credit.

Oxfam India joined forces with FACES where, its each product is inspired by the idea of an empowered woman. That is why we want to bring dignity to the resilient women farmers of India. You can help by pledging any amount for this initiative.

HAL will take your contributions to over 70,000 small farmers in Bihar, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand where Oxfam India is encouraging women farmers to exercise their right on land, submit land applications and fight gender based discrimination. By campaigning for recognition as farmers and working to strengthen women farmers’ groups, Oxfam is helping them earn better incomes and be economically independent.

An empowered woman is the greatest force of change. A much larger proportion of household budget is spent on food and nutrition when the income comes to the mother. Children are more likely to get an education. And domestic violence goes down. When one change can make the world so much more beautiful, wouldn’t you like to make it happen?

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