Gorakhpur Environmental Action Group (GEAG)

Project Theme

Transformative Women's leadership

Target Group

Others

Project Period

01 Apr 2016 - 31 Mar 2017

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Introduction

In Uttar Pradesh 72% of the population are engaged in agriculture and allied activities in which contribution of women are significant. In the state, agriculture stands as major source of livelihood for majority of the population. The small and marginal women farmer plays a significant role in serving the livelihood of the people, constitutes 89% of total farming community. Women farmers contribute to more than 80% of agricultural activities but are hardly recognized as farmers. Neither they have ownership over land nor do they have access to government schemes and entitlements as it is linked to land ownership by government policies. The project aimed at recognizing women as a farmer by strengthening their collective capacity to increase in access to government schemes and programs. Through the project, women farmers are facilitated to have their access to market and establish their linkages to government department and institutions. 

 

About the Project: 

The campaign on women farmer ‘Aroh’ is running across Uttar Pradesh which is focused on recognition of women as a farmer at different level including household, gram panchayat, district and state level. The campaign is being managed by five regional partners situated in the eastern, central, vidyhanchal, rohelkhand and western parts of the state. The lead role is of GEAG through which guidance is being provided to campaign. Since past ten years, Oxfam India has supported the campaign and it has achieved several successes in terms of recognition of women as farmer, inclusion of women farmers in agricultural schemes and Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA), joint land holding by women farmers etc. Last year government has passed ‘Revenue Code Bill, 2015 which gives equal space and priority to widow and unmarried daughter as par with son. Aaroh campaign was instrumental in negotiations and convincing the policy makers to incorporate our concerns and demands. This year is the last year of the campaign after which this will be managed by regional partners independently. 

 

This year emphasis has been on capacity building of leaders of women farmers on land rights and influencing stakeholders like agriculture officials, media, policy influencer, agriculture scientists, and advocates etc. to support the demands of women farmers. Best practices of the project will be captured for wider dissemination about the campaign successes. 

Results to be Achieved: 

  • Women farmers will be recognized at household, panchayat, district and state level
  • Women farmers from five districts will be linked to agricultural schemes like Rastriya Krishi Vikash Yojana (RKVY).
  • Aroh Campaign will be linked to stakeholders
  • Aroh campaign will function independently

 

Prior Achievements:

Some of the achievement for FY 2015-16 are: 

  • For receiving benefits of agricultural schemes, 212 women farmers have registered themselves online and linked their bank accounts. 
  • Mobile numbers of various AROH members are now linked with the department so that they can get information instantly. 
  • 78 women farmers from Lucknow and Ambedkarnagar have received training on Pulse and Oil seed farming. 
  • 334 women farmers have received benefit from various agricultural schemes:
  • 25 women farmers of Ambedkarnagar district have received 50% concession on Mustard seeds.
  • 48 women farmers of Ambedkarnagar district have received support for multi-tier cropping. 
  • 60 women farmers have received 75% rebate on Trichoderma.
  • 70 women farmers have received 36 KGs of Neem Khali and micro nutrients. 
  • 81 woman farmers actively participated in ‘Kisan Mela’. 
  • 35 woman farmers were rewarded by various forums for their exemplary work in small holding agriculture.
  • AROH Mahila Kisan Manch of Shahjhanpur awarded first placed in the mela cum exhibition organized by Krishi Vigyan Kendra.
  • 772 woman farmers received training on agricultural techniques by govt. officers at three resource centres.

 

Quotes of Beneficiaries: 

Quote from Teja “I am independently managing agriculture and sells produces in nearby market. I proud to be a women farmer”

 

Case Studies/Human stories: 

Soaring Flag of Women Leadership

55 years old Teeja Devi hails from Lakshmipur village of Gorakhpur district. She is the youngest sibling of a farm laborer family, whose father died before her birth. She had a tough childhood. She grew up amid fields where farming became part of her daily life. When she was in class five, she got married in a rural household of Lakhimpur. There too, life was not so easy, as her husband Shyam was jobless. From managing daily household chores in a joint family to tilling the land, she performed all duties with aplomb. 

There was just one bigha of land on which she grew millet, corn, wheat, paddy and lentils. Farming was inbuilt in her blood as she was involved in it since childhood. During family division, her husband was handed over fallow land while brother-in-law kept fertile land and some high value land near road. On this wrong division, Teja revolted and after lots of struggle she managed to get some fertile land through fair distribution. She now lives in a house built on this land with her husband, son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren. 

Teja is an empowered member of Aroh Manch and manages to do farming and sells produces in the nearby market independently. She has learnt about new farming techniques and received training on preparing organic manure, pesticides, dyes and organic urea with the help of cow dung, cow urine, jaggery and gram flour. She teachers in kishan school of 19 blocks where she trains other women about farming techniques and preparing organic manure and pesticides. For past 25-30 years she has been on the board members of gram panchayat (village council). 

With her strong will, Teja stopped illegal construction in her gram sabha which was being done by pradhan in public land. She fought against misappropriation in grain distribution under public distribution system, helped physically handicapped person in getting pension, made government tap functional and helped other women in fighting case of domestic violence.  She is a real example of women empowerment for the society.