ASPEE Agribusiness Management Institute, Navsari Agricultural University, Navsari, Gujarat
The dairy sector is a crucial component of India's economy, and Gujarat stands out as a major contributor to the nation's milk production. The dairy cooperatives have played a vital role in empowering women economically, as many of them are active members of these cooperatives. To gain insights on the aspects of women dairy farmers in Gujarat, a study was conducted in the Navsari district of South Gujarat. The research encompassed eight villages and involved interviews with 160 women dairy farmers using a structured questionnaire. The findings of the study revealed that many women dairy farmers had moderate experience in dairy farming and maintained a moderate-sized herd of animals. Their animal housing was predominantly kuccha/semi pukka type, and they earned a monthly income ranging from Rs.10,000-30,000 from dairy farming. An essential aspect highlighted by the research was the active involvement of women in decision-making processes related to dairy farming. They played key roles in determining the quantity of milk sold and used for home consumption, milk product preparation, and animal care. The motivations driving women to take up dairy farming included the prospect of regular income, economic independence, and an opportunity to enhance family living standards. However, the major constraints faced by women dairy farmers in Gujarat were lack of adequate training facilities, high costs of feed and fodder, irregular and insufficient supply of cattle feed, and low prices for milk etc. It could be concluded that there was significant role of women dairy farmers, not only in their active involvement in decision-making but also in their economic contributions to the dairy sector. In this regard it is essential to design policies and interventions to support and empower the women dairy farmers.