Women taking power in agriculture

by iFarmer, 16 March

3 min read

Women taking power in agriculture

A lot of women inspire us in corporations, business, fashion, fitness and many other sectors, but we never hear about inspiring women farmers. Many of us do not realize that these inspiring farmers are business owners, stewards of the land and innovators who run the world’s food system.

Around the world, women farmers have far less access to agricultural training and financing than their male counterparts yet studies show that women could increase their farm yields by 20 to 30 percent if they had equal access to such resources. Bigger yields would mean bigger incomes. This would be a win for rural communities since women invest significantly more in their children’s education and health and it would be a win for the planet since crop yields on existing farmland and maintaining livestock are an essential part of food security as well as the global climate solution.

Recently, iFarmer has taken interviews of some of the invisible superwomen of Bangladesh, who are successfully leading their farm business. These two invisible superheroes are the true embodiment of the fighters who take the oath to #breakthebias. 25-year old Roksana Rony from Lalmonirhat is a proud cattle farmer. ‘I’m a woman and I am a proud farmer. I take care of my daughters on my own. I don’t have to depend on my husband to run the family, ”she said, in addition to that, she is now hoping to buy more cows with her savings in the future. The pride and charm of independence was clearly seen on her face while talking.

However, women still provide more unpaid farm labor than men. Women in agriculture are playing roles in sowing, transplanting, weeding, irrigation, fertilizer application, plant protection, harvesting, storing etc. And in agriculture, they are simply excellent in management and breeding livestock for the purpose of obtaining their meat and products (milk, eggs etc).

‘I own three goats and two cows. I am the only earning member in my family. I have 2 sons and 3 daughters. I took the responsibilities of my 3 daughter’s marriage with my income. I even gave a certain amount of gold to my youngest daughter. I feel happy with my earnings’, said 45 years old invisible superwoman, Horena Begum. The confidence and joy of self dependence can easily be seen in her voice. There are thousands of untold stories like the life story of Horena Begum which we should bring out to light. 

The contribution of women in agricultural and food production is clearly significant. However, it is impossible to verify the share produced by women because agriculture is usually a venture among household members and involves a range of resources and inputs that cannot be readily assigned by gender.