06) ICRISAT observes International Women’s Day in Global Incubation Forum

As part of the three-day Network of Indian Agri-Business Incubation Conference (NIABI 2011) from 08 to 10 March 2011 at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), a special session on women entrepreneurs in agribusiness and their role in agricultural development will be held at its headquarters in Patancheru on 9 March 2011.

The session will look at how to engage women entrepreneurs and women self-help groups to set up agribusiness ventures. It will discuss their issues and requirements and how to develop solutions for them. ICRISAT will also use this occasion to promote inspiring stories of women in agriculture, demonstrating the entrepreneurial qualities of women in rural areas.

“Empowerment of women is particularly important to me as I believe this leads to the empowerment of the nation",  -- Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil, President of India.

Highlighting the need to empower women, the President of India has outlined the importance of engaging smallholder farmers in commercial farming to combat poverty in rural India. In her speech last Independence Day she said, “Linking industry with agriculture would provide a basis for growth of industry in the rural areas and also promote agriculture business.”

Recognizing the role of women in agricultural development, ICRISAT Director General William Dar said, “ICRISAT’s Inclusive Market-Oriented Development (IMOD) strategy identifies successful ways to link poor smallholder farmers with the marketplace to generate incomes and improve their lives. To fulfill this mission, ICRISAT recognizes the crucial role of women in agriculture development.”

“In sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, over 60 percent of women are engaged in agriculture. In India, women perform up to 70% of agricultural activities yet their contribution is usually not recognized. Because women are more likely than men to invest their income in food and basic needs for the household, they have a critical role in poverty alleviation and community development”, Dr Dar added.

Adarsha means ‘ideal example to follow’, and two of ICRISAT’s projects impacting on women live up to this name. The virtual academy driven by the Adarsha women’s network with ICRISAT in Addakkal mandal is one pioneering success story of rural women and science.  Likewise, the vermiculture project of the Adarsha watershed management scheme in Kothapally is another.

By working with ICRISAT scientists, women leaders such as Rameswaramma in Nijalapur and Lakshmi in Kothapally have shifted from subsistence farming to successful agribusinesses, paving the path to prosperity for others in their community.

Women’s Day this year celebrates the 100th anniversary of Women’s rights, and this year’s theme is, “Equal access to Education, Training, Science and Technology: Pathway to Decent work for Women”.  ICRISAT recognizes the importance of women in all its on-going research programs; it promotes effective ways to empower rural women in India and in other semi-arid tropical regions.


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