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Women Farmers: Cultivating Growth, Nurturing Communities


The impact of women farmers in agriculture is undeniable, in rural regions they form a significant pillar of agricultural livelihoods. As a majority rely on farming for their daily needs, women play a key role in livestock production and agriculture.

Nevertheless, their contributions are marginalized by discriminatory practices, limited access to resources, and limited markets. Here we explore the crucial role of women in agriculture, the challenges they encounter, and the importance of empowering them.

The Impact of Women Farmers in Agriculture

In rural India, women from agricultural livelihoods rely up to 84% on farming. Their essential role in agriculture extends beyond cultivation, as they are instrumental in driving the world’s largest livestock production systems. With over 70% of livestock work undertaken by women.

Limited Access to Resources and Services

Despite their substantial contributions, women farmers often need more access to resources and services. Studies highlight disparities in accessing inputs like seeds, fertilizers, labor, and finance. 

Additionally, they need help to obtain critical services such as training and insurance. Unequal access to organized markets further hampers their ability to secure fair prices for their produce.

Implications for Economic Well-being and Agricultural Output

The existing inequalities in resource access have both social and economic costs. Research consistently demonstrates that this disparity impacts the financial well-being of women farmers and overall agricultural output.

According to data from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, women play a significant role in agricultural activities in India. Here are some key statistics:

  1. Workforce Participation

Women constitute about 30% of the agricultural workforce in India. They are actively involved in various agricultural activities, including crop cultivation, livestock rearing, and post-harvest processing.

  1. Farm Ownership:

Women in India own around 13% of agricultural land. However, it’s important to note that the majority of women farmers have limited access to land ownership.

  1. Crop Cultivation:

Women actively engage in crop cultivation, accounting for approximately 55-66% of the total agricultural labor force involved in this activity. They contribute significantly to the production of staple crops such as rice, wheat, pulses, and vegetables.

  1. Livestock Rearing:

Women also play a crucial role in livestock rearing, including dairy farming, poultry, and small animal husbandry. They are involved in activities such as feeding, milking, and animal healthcare.

  1. Post-Harvest Processing: 

Women are extensively involved in post-harvest processing activities such as sorting, cleaning, drying, and packaging of agricultural produce. They contribute to value addition and play a vital role in ensuring food security and reducing post-harvest losses.

Here are the number of women farmers in India:

Unlocking Potential Through Equality

Addressing disparities in women agriculture is crucial for realizing the full potential of women in this field. By ensuring women have equitable access to resources, services, and organized markets, we can empower them to thrive. Bridging the gender gap in agriculture enhances women’s economic empowerment and contributes to sustainable food production, poverty reduction, and overall economic growth.

Recognizing Women’s Roles in Agriculture

Recognition of women’s vital role in agriculture should not overshadow their primary functions as wives, mothers, and homemakers. Women play a crucial role in sustaining agricultural production while shouldering multiple responsibilities within and outside the home. However, despite their significance, women face severe handicaps and marginalization in their role in agriculture.

Challenges in Land Ownership and Security

Women constitute the largest group of landless laborers, lacking real security in cases of family breakdown due to death or divorce. Discriminatory inheritance laws and customs further perpetuate their disadvantaged position. 

Land reform and settlement programs typically grant sole title and necessary security for obtaining production credits to husbands, further marginalizing women in agriculture.

Importance of Training and Empowerment

Recognizing rural farm women’s unique circumstances is crucial to organizing training programs that cater to their convenience. Institutional training plays a pivotal role in equipping women with the necessary skills and knowledge to enhance their agricultural practices. By offering training opportunities tailored to the needs and realities of rural farm women, we can empower them to overcome the challenges they face.

Promoting Gender Equality and Access

To address the existing barriers, promote gender equality in land ownership, inheritance rights, and access to credit and resources. Efforts should be made to challenge discriminatory laws and customs, providing women with the same rights and opportunities as men in agriculture. 

By recognizing and valuing women’s contributions, we can work towards creating an inclusive agricultural sector that supports their economic well-being and overall development.

Overcoming Challenges and Empowering Women in Agriculture

Women in agriculture, whether in small farms or big farms, face numerous challenges that hinder their productivity and overall well-being. However, empowering women in agriculture is crucial for achieving sustainable development and food security. 

By addressing these challenges, we can create an enabling environment that empowers women and promotes gender equality in the agricultural sector.

Access to Resources and Land Ownership

One of the significant challenges faced by women in agriculture is limited access to resources such as land, water, and seeds. Cultural and traditional barriers often prevent them from owning land and participating in decision-making. 

Overcoming these challenges requires increasing women’s access to resources and promoting secure land tenure, enabling them to improve their productivity, income, and decision-making power.

Education & Training

Access to quality education and training is vital for improving women’s productivity and economic status in agriculture. Unfortunately, many women in rural areas face cultural, social, and financial barriers to education. 

By providing education and training opportunities focused on agricultural practices, financial management, and entrepreneurship, women can enhance their skills, increase their productivity, and develop leadership abilities.

– Beneficiary-oriented schemes of the Department of Agriculture & Cooperation and Farmers Welfare (DAC&FW) emphasize the allocation of funds for women farmers.

– Guidelines require States and Implementing Agencies to allocate a minimum of 30% of the expenditure towards women farmers.

– These schemes aim to ensure adequate support and resources for women farmers.

Financial Inclusion and Technological Innovation

Women and agriculture in India often need more access to finance and technology, limiting their investment ability. Tailored financial services and the promotion of appropriate technologies can empower women, increase their productivity, reduce their workload, and enhance their resilience to climate change.

Market Access and Gender-Based Violence

Barriers to accessing markets include:

  • Limited mobility
  • Lack of information
  • Gender-based discrimination

Women in agriculture face challenges that can be reduced by access to markets and market information. They can increase earnings and reduce dependence on subsistence farming with greater access. Women play an important role in agriculture and need support for success.

Protecting women’s rights, ensuring their safety, and enabling their full participation in agricultural development require addressing gender-based violence in agricultural settings.


Recognizing and valuing the role of women in agriculture is essential for achieving inclusive and sustainable agricultural systems. We can unlock their potential and enhance their productivity by addressing their challenges. 

Empowering women improves their economic well-being and contributes to gender equality, poverty reduction, and agricultural development. 

By creating an enabling environment that promotes gender equity and provides opportunities for women farmers to thrive, we pave the way for a more resilient and inclusive agricultural sector that benefits society. Especially on Women Farmers Day, let’s celebrate and support their vital role in agriculture.

Frequently Asked Questions

Que. What are the challenges faced by farmers?

Ans. Climate change and market fluctuations can also affect women’s contribution in agriculture.

Que. What are the major challenges facing Indian agriculture today?

Ans. Fragmented land holdings, water scarcity, outdated farming practices, and inadequate infrastructure.

Que. How are female farmers changing the face of agriculture in India?

Ans. Empowering women, access to resources, breaking gender norms, and enhancing productivity.

Que. What are the challenges faced by poor women in India?

Ans. Limited access to education, resources, healthcare, and financial opportunities.

Que. What are the major challenges farmers are facing in agriculture in India?

Ans. Erratic weather patterns, lack of irrigation facilities, low market prices, and rural-urban migration.

Que. What is one of the great agricultural challenges that farmers face?

Ans. Balancing food production with environmental sustainability and ensuring long-term soil health.

Que. How do I overcome the challenges faced by farmers?

Ans. Improving technology adoption, diversifying income sources, accessing financial support, and practicing sustainable farming methods.

Que. What are the challenges faced by female farmers in developing countries?

Ans. Limited access to land, finance, education, technology, and gender inequalities.

Que. What are some of the challenges faced by farmers in Uttar Pradesh?

Ans. Inadequate irrigation facilities, unpredictable weather conditions, low market prices, and pests/diseases.

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