Endeavouring to Protect the Rights and Entitlements of Women Farmers
The small and marginal women farmers of Uttar Pradesh are those hard-working women who contribute to more than 80% of the agricultural activities in the state. Despite their very significant role in agricultural production, their contribution has never been acknowledged, recognized and rewarded. They are deprived of the basic rights and most importantly, they do not even have the identity as a ‘farmer’. GEAG works for the social, economic and political empowerment of small and marginal women farmers. GEAG advocates for their rights and entitlements.
With the support of Oxfam India, GEAG conducted a study in 2006 to understand whether the government schemes were reaching and benefitting the women farmers in Uttar Pradesh. It was found that only 6 per cent women owned land, 2 per cent had access to credit and only 1 per cent had access to agriculture trainings. It was then a need was felt to assert rights and demand justice for women farmers in the state and this was the beginning of “Aaroh”, a women farmers’ campaign in 2006. GEAG led the campaign in coordination with four other regional NGOs.
GEAG along with partner NGOs advocated for decision-making roles for women farmers in different agriculture forums/government bodies like ATMA. Our efforts over the year gave very fruitful results. More than 9000 women farmers got engaged in the campaign and brought the term “Mahila Kisan” into common parlance. More than 1000 women farmers received training in various agricultural fields like seed nursery, organic farming and veterinary science by government officers at four Aaroh Resource Centres. Revenue Code Bill 2016 came into place wherein the act defined the term “family” and gave decision-making rights to wife and children for objecting land sale without their consent.