Rural women form the most productive work force in the economy of majority of the developing nations including India. More than 80% of rural women are engaged in agriculture activities for their livelihoods. About 20 per cent of farm livelihoods are female headed due to widowhood, desertion, or male emigration. Agriculture support system in India strengthens the exclusion of women from their entitlements as agriculture workers and cultivators. Most of the women-headed households are not able to access extension services, farmers support institutions and production assets like seed, water, credit, subsidy etc. As agricultural workers, women are paid lower wage than men.
The “Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana” (MKSP), a sub component of the Deendayal Antodaya Yojana-NRLM (DAY-NRLM) seeks to improve the present status of women in Agriculture, and to enhance the opportunities available to empower her.
Focus and strategy
MKSP recognizes the identity of “Mahila” as “Kisan” and strives to build the capacity of women in the domain of agro-ecologically sustainable practices. It has a clear vision to reach out to the poorest of poor households and expand the portfolio of activities currently handled by the Mahila Kisan.
The focus of MKSP is on capacitating smallholders to adopt sustainable climate resilient agro-ecology and eventually create a pool of skilled community professionals. Its objective is to strengthen smallholder agriculture through promotion of sustainable agriculture practices such as Community Managed Sustainable Agriculture (CMSA), Non Pesticide Management (NPM), Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF), Pashu-Sakhi model for doorstep animal care services, Sustainable regeneration and harvesting of Non-Timber Forest Produce.
MKSP intervention strategy involves building a structure on the foundation of sustainability. This involves incorporating climate change resilient and ecologically sound practices into the overall structure. Community Resource Persons (CRPs) play a proactive role in scaling up these initiatives. Major interventions promoted under DAY-NRLM which contribute to climate change resilience & risk mitigation among the poor are:
Community managed sustainable agriculture (agro-ecology approaches)
Usage of locally available natural inputs – for pest management and soil fertility management
System of root intensification – SRI, SCI
Promotion of millets and cereal crops
Promotion of multiple crops
Tree based farming practices
Regeneration of forest species
Usage of locally available natural inputs
Integrated farming practice with small ruminants
Convergence with MGNREGA to create agriculture assets for the community
Non Pesticide Management
Natural soil fertility Management
Integrating livestock with agriculture
Integration of livestock – promotion of Pashu sakhi model
Ensuring the scalability of climate change resilient agriculture practices through Community Best Practitioners (CBPs)
In-situ rain water harvesting
The program is being implemented by DAY-NRLM in partnership with State Rural Livelihood Missions/ Community Based Organizations (CBOs)/NGOs, as implementing partners (PIAs) across the country. These agencies are expected to support and nurture scalable livelihood models in the MKSP intervention areas. In the process, it is expected that a cadre of barefoot community professionals will be created from among the best practioners. The State Rural Livelihood Missions will further replicate the models with the help of the community.
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