Sahithi Pasupuleti and Vinayak Nikam
Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi-110012
Asymmetries in agriculture, inefficient value chains, rise in food prices and farmers’ distress are the biggest challenges that we are facing today, leaving poor farmers out of the markets. One of the most important solutions to this problem is mobilizing and organizing farmers into Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) to reap the benefits of economies of scale, collective post-harvest operations, and collective marketing. Despite the fact that there are numerous FPOs across the country, very few women farmers participate in them. According to a recent report (Oxfam India, 2018), there are currently around 33 percent more women farmers than there were five years ago. And despite the fact that women perform over 80 percent of the farming-related tasks, only 13 percent of them actually own land. According to the FAO (2016), women frequently have less access to capital and technologies than men, which limits their participation in value chains with the highest economic returns that confine them to lower profit nodes. Therefore the study analysed women's empowerment at the household and value chain level using Pro-WEAI and also identified participation of men and women across various nodes of Porter's value chain in the FPOs. The results identified that Pro-WEAI at the household level was 0.82 whereas, at the value chain level, the Pro-WEAI was 0.80 which indicates that women who were empowered at the household level were also empowered at the value chain level. The study recommends providing women with financial literacy, involving women in decision-making, and a gender-sensitive approach in extension services, such as hiring women extension agents and placing more emphasis on developing and supporting women-led FPOs, will have a multiplier effect on agriculture, farm families, and the rural economy.