MOHILA KISAN DIVAS
(The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Women are important part of human life and hence they are crucial in our family and society. The role of women in human life, in smooth running of a family and household is tremendous without whom no one can think of progress, peace and happiness. So far as agriculture is or farming is concerned they comprise a major workforce in agriculture. They play multi-dimensional role in agriculture and allied sectors. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), women participate in 48% of agriculture-related employment in India and around 7.5 crore women are actively involved in livestock management. Census 2011 data show that 65.1 per cent of female workers depend on agriculture, either as labourers or cultivators as opposed to 49.8 per cent of male workers. It is also reported that 80 per cent of financially independent women are engaged in farm-related activities in India. Of them, 33 per cent are working as agricultural labourers and 48 per cent are self-employed farmers. It is also reported that 74.8 per cent of rural women are agricultural workers but only 9.3 per cent own land in India. Thus various published statistics establish that women farmers are one of the most crucial parts of our entire food production system required for ensuring a sustainable food security system. But in practice women are the most vulnerable section of our society affected by the very impact of food insecurity. Because, according to the World Health Organization, 528 million or 29% of women of reproductive age around the world are affected by anaemia. It is also reported that 52 per cent of married women in India are having anaemia problem. Thus it is seen that women are the most vulnerable section of human society affected by malnutrition. So it is a matter of grave concern that in spite of being an effective contributor of food security war, women themselves are the prey of malnutrition.
There are many pertinent issues of concern hampering women in delivering their full latent potential in building a developmental society with due amount of peace and happiness on a very sustainable manner. Firstly, there should be more momentum of effective approach by our society or institutional mechanisms in ensuring equal opportunity for all eligible farm women on a par with their male counterpart. Secondly, all should pay due and effective attention and execution in giving equal wage to our women farmers with that of our male farmers. Thirdly, all the players of our society should better understand the ill effect of overburden of work of our farm women and should forward due positive treatment so that farm women can contribute more productively and sustainably. Fourthly, more effective approach is needed in developing women-friendly improved technology, tools, machineries in order to reduce their workload and these should be easily affordable, accessible and profitable along with timely provision for skill training or capacity building programmes about the technologies. Fifthly, while working in the farm there should be effective for food or drinking water or tea along with childcare facilities so that both the health of mother and child are protected simultaneously and help in human resource development. Sixthly, there should be more effective provisions for giving farm women right opportunity in the process of all productive activities and its resource management activities by effectively managing all social barriers in a very friendly manner. Farm women should be given more effective access to land, credit, training, extension, marketing and other decision making process in our society. As rural women are very good in credit or money management so there should be little hindrance in forwarding right facilities, support, assistance of all kinds in due amount and time in carrying out their all productive income generating activities on a very commercial scale subjected to their management constraints. The most important aspect for desirable changes in the plight of farm women towards a sustainable developmental society with due peace and happiness is their awareness about their rights, awareness about various institutional developmental schemes or plans in right time, their concern or awareness about habituating balance diet daily both for themselves and all the family members and also consciousness or awareness of farm women of being effective organized form in order to reap the very fruits of economies of scale or economies of production with optimum profit realization for their all-round development. So the decision to celebrate International Day of Rural Women on October 15 by the United Nations bears due relevance, which recognizes "the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty." Our country India is not exception and in 2016, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare had decided to observe 15th October as Mohila Kisan Diwas every year to recognize the contribution of women farmers in various aspects of agriculture including sowing, planting, fertilizing, plant protection, harvesting, weeding, and storage. In this very celebration the leading role playing by the Indian Council for Agricultural Research through its institutions, agricultural universities and Kristi Vigyan Kendras are very encouraging in order to convert the aims and objectives of celebrating Mohila Kisan Divas a true reality. Of course in this very holy process our esteemed media fraternity can play a very effective role in bringing about desired changes in the hopes and aspirations of our farm women though their timely and effective mode of awareness programmes or module. So let's hope for the best and work accordingly and collectively.