The Women of the Land

By Monsanto

India is considered a country of villages as the majority of its population lives in far-flung remote areas. While these people live in relative seclusion, what they lack in creature comforts, they make up through their grit and determination to make a living for themselves. This is especially true in the case of the rural women – the homemakers, the wives, the daughters of the Indian soil, who take up the charge of feeding their families and our country, as a whole.

Rural women comprise 43% of the world’s agricultural labor force, which can sometimes rise to 70% in some countries. Agriculture is known to be the backbone of India’s economy and at present provides approximately 52% of the total number of jobs available in India and contributes around 18.1% to the GDP. As people of the land, the agricultural sector is where most of the women work to make ends meet and they, in turn help feed a country, which houses 17.86% of the total world population.

But as the labour in this sector is seasonal, there have been many months where these women have struggled to provide for themselves and their families. They needed a change and so we at Monsanto made an attempt to help them in this effort.

Did you know that a FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) report says that if women were given equal access to resources as men, agricultural yield could increase 2.5-4% in developing countries, enough to feed at least 100 million more people! Just imagine all the good that can be done if we give these women an equal chance.

So, we at Monsanto intended to do just that. Through our partnership with AFPRO, we aimed to provide skill training on multiple aspects. This was done to provide these women with an alternate source of livelihood which will enable them to contribute to the family income, thus, ultimately empowering them.

Dairy unit at Nivdunga (Maharashtra)

The women community of about 14 members were provided with one buffalo each to strengthen the dairy activity. On an average, four litres of milk is sold daily by each family to the local dairy earning INR 4800 every month. Besides this, money spent on buying milk from outside is saved contributing to the monthly savings.

The women community of about 14 members were provided with one buffalo each to strengthen the dairy activity. On an average, four litres of milk is sold daily by each family to the local dairy earning INR 4800 every month. Besides this, money spent on buying milk from outside is saved contributing to the monthly savings.

Poultry unit at Silvassa

This was a collaborative effort with the government where the poultry shed is a contribution from the NGO partner and the government provides the birds, feeders and the feed. This effort was carried out for 50 families with each family receiving 50 birds from the Animal husbandry department. The birds are kept for six months during which they lay eggs. After the six month period, the hens are sold in the market for meat. Post this, a new set of 50 birds is provided by the government to the same beneficiary. The government provides the birds for three cycles. Every six months each family generates about INR 30000 from the sale of eggs and meat adding to the family income.

Women trained on sewing in Waghrul (Maharashtra)

Training on sewing was given to 66 women with the objective of enabling them to set up an enterprise. One SHG (Self Help Group) with 10 women were provided six sewing machines and they have initiated a tailoring center. They have started a collective enterprise accepting work orders for school uniform, supply of inner garments, dresses from the local community. A monthly income of up to INR 1000 per lady is being generated from this secondary occupation. These women are homemakers and also work on the fields. The skill training on sewing has provided a supplementary source of income.

As the UN celebrates October 15th as International Day for Rural Women, we at Monsanto remember and pledge to continually strive for the women who sustain us, the women of the land.

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