Women farmers come together for state level meet in Bihar to discuss land rights

Women farmers come together for state level meet in Bihar to discuss land rights

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In India, 79% women are dependent on agriculture, yet only 9.3 % own land. @OxfamIndia and partners address this issue. Know more http://bit.ly/1FnLRxo

Women do bulk of the work on the field but can’t take decisions for it. Women farmers in #Bihar meet to address this issue http://bit.ly/1FnLRxo

Oxfam India along with its partners Pragati Gramin Vikas Samiti (PGVS) and Nav Bihar Samaj Kalyan Pratisthan Kendra (NBSKPK) organised a state level meeting of women farmers elevating land rights issues of women in the public sphere as well as address the issue of recognition of women as farmers in state policies and women’s land rights.

Over 200 women farmers from 12 districts of Bihar and various other stakeholders participated in the state level meet and expressed their views on the issue and developed some recommendation. Some of the policy recommendations presented by them on the issue of landlessness and land ownership of women are - 

  1. Though law recognizes women’s property rights as equal to those of men; in practice, formal land records in the name of women are very few. The record of rights prepared in Bihar, by and large, carries the name of the male inheritors. The government could therefore make a provision to include women’s right and share by including her name in the land records. 
  2. Homestead land distributed to landless families should have only the women’s name. In families where more than one adult woman (widows, elderly women etc.) is the part of the household, the names of all female adults should be registered. 
  3. Leasing of community land to women groups should be promoted and women groups (especially landless) should be provided and supported with credit linkages. Women groups should be provided passbooks to ensure they gain access to institutional credit and other inputs.
  4. There should be representation for women, especially women belonging to SC/ST communities in agencies set up to monitor land reforms.
  5. Government should distribute the available Bhoodan land among landless families, and give priority to women cultivators. 
  6. Formation of knowledge resource centre at Panchayat level to facilitate community to linkage with agriculture and other livelihood schemes. 
  7. Promotion of collective farming as tool for economic empower of small and landless women farmers and arrangement of low interest loan for leasing land, procurement of agri inputs and other cost of cultivation.
  8. Make provision for increasing area of homestead land distributed to landless family to 10 dismal.

Apart from women farmers different stakeholders from the society came to attend the meet to propose focused effort to achieve the above mentioned points. Through this state meeting, there will be an effort to present this advocacy demand to state government and other policy makers.

In India, around 79% women are dependent on agriculture, yet not more than 9.3 % own land (NSSO 61st round, 2004-05).

Stressing on the need to focus on economic empowerment of women farmers, Vijoy Prakash, (I.A.S) Agriculture Production Commissioner, Government of Bihar said: “If mutation process is done on a large scale more and more women can have access to land titles.” He also mentioned the need for Custom Hiring Centre that can be managed by the women group that could benefit them to avail agricultural tools and machines at subsidised level.  

Commenting on the ingrained patriarchic structure of the society, Sister Sudha Vargis, Vice President, Minority Commission said: “Even though women do the bulk of the work, key decision making in agricultural practices from seeds, irrigation, labour, land lease, harvest, stocking and selling are still very much in the hands of men, who take decision on women’s behalf.”

 

Written by: Adya Gupta

Photo Credit: Adya Gupta/Oxfam India

 

 

 


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