ICAR-Central Institute for Women in Agriculture, Bhubaneswar conducted a study in a cluster comprising two villages, namely, Sankilo and Tentalpur under Nischintakoili Block of Cuttack District, Odisha under an ICAR-NASF funded project in adopting 40 women farmers. During the first year, critical gender gap indicators were identified and prioritized using the SHEET (Social-Health-Environmental-Economic-Technological) module. Based on the identified critical gender gap indicators, interventions were delivered and field-tested under three modules, namely, the Small Scale Livelihoods Model and marginal women farmers, the nutrition security model for middle income women farmers and the entrepreneurship promotion model for large women farmers through institute-industry-stakeholder linkages.
Under the Livelihood Improvement Model, the vegetable demonstration increased the average gross yield from ₹1,16,923/- to ₹3,15,005/- and net yield from ₹50,107/- to ₹1,89,955/- per year. A yield advantage of approximately 45.51-68.93% and additional income of 155-203% was achieved. The introduction of high-yielding fruit crops resulted in yield benefits of about 47.85-49.52% with additional income of 69.74-119.30%. As part of the nutrition security model, the nutri-farm trials generated a lot of awareness and sensitization among the women’s group about nutrition and the consumption of nutrient-dense vegetables and fruits.
In the case of rice production, the highest average yield of 6.68 t/ha was observed in rice variety CR-Dhan 312 with the highest benefit/cost ratio of 2.50. An average net yield of ₹1,13,000/- and gross yield of ₹1,26,290/- per ha along with a yield advantage of 64.40% and an increase of 145.26% in net yield were achieved . The introduction of high protein rice varieties CR Dhan 311 (Mukul) and CR Dhan 315 added an extra protein yield of 3.26 and 3.30 q/ha to the diets of farming families and also helped meet zinc requirements (20-22 ppm).
An average yield of 1.28 t/ha in black gram (var. PU-31) was recorded with a yield increase of 63.08% and a net yield of ₹29,687/- per year. The black gram benefit/cost ratio increased from 1.68 to 2.42 with an 84.74% increase in farm income. Consumption of black gram helps meet the protein needs of female farmers.
The entrepreneurship promotion model generated a total yield of 971.1 kg of paddy straw mushrooms with a total income of ₹1,74,798/- of which a value of ₹17,479/- of mushrooms was used for the household consumption and ₹1,57,649/- of mushrooms sold on the open market with an average net yield of ₹26,040/100 beds. The benefit/cost ratio increased from 2.06 to 4.21 with a yield benefit increase of 54.99%. On average, a 133% increase in income sources was recorded after the project intervention. Demonstrations of women-friendly chores reducing agricultural tools were also conducted, which improved labor efficiency, labor output, and reduced chores and health risks for women farmers.
A Women Farmer Producer Organization (WFPO), i.e. Ananya Farmer Producer Company Limited, has been established to strengthen the agribusiness approach of the identified group of women farmers. The above models have generated benefits and raised women farmers’ awareness of cluster-based production and motivated them to replicate these models in different places in the cluster, which helps to bring equity, promote entrepreneurship and to achieve the empowerment of women farmers in agriculture.
(Source: ICAR – Central Institute for Women in Agriculture, Bhubaneswar)