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Women’s Participation in Karnataka’s FPOs

Karnataka has evidenced a spurt in the formation and registration of farmer producer organisations in recent times, wherein the participation of women remains relatively low. There is a need for gender-sensitive initiatives to encourage women farmers to join the FPOs and benefit from the emerging agricultural value chains.

In developing countries women farmers not only own fewer assets, and have less access to inputs and services compared to their male counterparts, but even with equal access to resources may not have returns equal to the latter (World Bank 2017). Given this, the increasing “feminisation” of agriculture in India, especially in the context of the emerging modern supply chains, calls for empirical understanding of the transforming gender roles in agriculture in response to the new opportunities, for the policymakers and practitioners to formulate strategies/policies that can help rural women to maximise these opportunities to increase productivity, improve food security, and subsequent reinvestments in their households.

Organising farmers into groups, such as farmers/rural producer organisations, is a potential tool to address many issues that farmers, particularly women farmers, face in procuring inputs, receiving extension services and transacting through markets having different value chains. Such organisations due to scale benefits are expected to lower transaction costs for sellers and buyers, besides providing technical help in production and creating social capital. These are supposed to be non-political entities founded on the principle of self-reliance, which aim to provide business services to the members, especially smallholders (Onumah et al 2007). The membership base of these organisations can range from part- or full-time self-employed smallholders and family farmers, to pastoralists, artisanal fisherfolk, landless people, women, small entrepreneurs and indigenous people (Bikkina et al 2015).

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Updated On : 19th Nov, 2018

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