The Department of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare organised a webinar on Friday on “Women in Agri-startups: Creating Value with Supply Chain Management” in the series of events for celebrating Mahila Kisan Diwas 2021.
Inaugurating the webinar, Kailash Choudhary, Minister of State for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, said that women’s contribution to the development of agriculture had increased manifold. Women play a decisive role in ensuring food security and preserving local agro-biodiversity. The Government of India is committed to give priority to women for bringing them into the mainstream of agricultural development. He added that the role of women was not only confined to agriculture after India’s independence but their contribution is visible in all sectors including defence, space, administration and sports. It gives immense satisfaction and pride to see that women are fulfilling their dreams and reaching the thresholds in self-reliant India. The minister also added that the formation of farmer producer organisations would benefit women farmers in a revolutionary way.
The webinar focused on enabling women entrepreneurship in agribusiness; strategy and schemes to support agri-startups in India; Technology transfer to startups for commercialisation; value chain management and challenges faced by agri-startups and agripreneures. The agriculture sector employs 80 per cent of all economically active women; they comprise 33 per cent of the agricultural labour force and 48 per cent of self-employed farmers, the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare informed.
With women predominant at all levels of production- pre-harvest, post-harvest processing, packaging, marketing- of the agricultural value chain, to increase productivity in agriculture, it is imperative to adopt gender-specific interventions. The government has tried to push the agenda of ‘gender mainstreaming in agriculture’ by way of earmarking funds for women under various schemes, programmes and development interventions; introducing ‘pro-women initiatives’ to help women derive the benefits of all beneficiary-oriented components of different programmes. The focus is on the formation of women self-help groups (SHGs), women federations and women farmer producer organisations; capacity building interventions; linking them to micro-credit; enhancing their access to information and ensuring their representation in decision making bodies at various levels.
The senior and mid-level extension functionaries, women farmers, agri-entrepreneurs and resource persons from various training institutes participated in the event. The successful women entrepreneurs from various states also narrated their views and experiences on the occasion.
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