NCW to send draft policy to Govt on women in agriculture

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New Delhi, May 10 (UNI) With the objective of ensuring that women have access to and control over resources, including land, the NCW will submit to the Government a draft policy for women in agriculture after conducting national consultations.

The Commission today launched the two-day consultations on the policy.

''Women's pivotal role in agriculture has never been recognised fully. They work as female agricultural labourers, as farmers, co-farmers, family labourers.... but they still remain largely unacknowledged as farmers and agricultural workers. The policy aims to secure recognition and evaluation of the role of women as workers in the agriculture sector,'' NCW chairperson Girija Vyas said.

Pointing out that women constitute 40 per cent of the agricultural workforce which is rising further, she said the increased feminisation of agricultural work and labour must be taken into account in any policy document.

''Acknowledgement and evaluation of women's work in agriculture must be the basis for all policies and schemes in agriculture.

Dr Vyas said the policy will ensure that women have access to land rights, water, pasture, forest, biodiversity resources including seeds, fodder, fuel and raw material, to address their labour and livelihood issues.

It also proposes adequate and equal availability of services like irrigation, credit, insurance, technology, information, training and special markets for women in the sector, she added.

Stressing that the draft bill seeks to safeguard food security, she said malnutrition, particularly among women and children may be eliminated by ensuring minimum support prices and other incentives for primary producers and by providing sufficient foodgarins at affordable prices for all.

She said in the draft bill amendment and implementation of laws such as the Recognition of Forest Rights Act, 2007, the Food Safety Act and the Bio-Diversity Act have been recommended for recognition of the interest of women primary producers in the agricultural sector.

The Chairperson said the impact of policy change in the agrarian sector and its decline has also led to feminisation of poverty.

''According to the Approach Paper for the 11th Plan the growth rate of agriculture was about 2 per cent during the 9th Plan and is expected to decline to 1.8 per cet per annum during the 10th plan.... Any statement on policy has to take into account this recent sharp decline in agriculture in the country,'' she added.


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