An upcoming conference seeks to share latest knowledge and bridge the gap between research and practice to foster gender-equal and socially inclusive resilient food systems
In a recent webinar held in advance of the international gender research conference, “From research to impact: Towards just and resilient agri-food systems”, experts say now is the ideal time to reinforce gender equality in agri-food systems, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s emphasis on Nari Shakti and the G20 New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration call for “women-led development”.
Agricultural gender researchers agreed that true commitment to women-led development requires improving women’s opportunities in agri-food markets. This includes facilitating their access to finance and networks, and putting in place policies and innovations that support women’s entrepreneurship – in India and elsewhere.
The conference, which will take place in New Delhi on October 9-12, is designed to share cutting-edge knowledge and bridge the gap between research and practice to foster gender-equal and socially inclusive, resilient food systems. It is hosted by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and the CGIAR GENDER Impact Platform.
“Research forms the backbone of good policies, and Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), having been at the forefront of critical research is proud to have a unique, women-centric Central Institute for Women in Agriculture, designed for this,” said Dr Seema Jaggi, assistant director general (human resource development), ICAR.
“Research provides the needed evidence and guidance by identifying emergent issues, closing data gaps, and pointing out the challenges and opportunities women face. The generated evidence can be used to provide solutions and pathways to reduce gender inequalities and increase social inclusion in the food systems,” said Dr Rahma Adam, social inclusion and market scientist, CGIAR.
Reflecting on Haryana and Punjab, Dr Ranjitha Puskur, research leader, CGIAR highlighted the multiple opportunities available for women in these states, including dairy enterprises, agri-input dealerships, food processing, which offers high margins and farmer producers organisations.
Sharing her experiences from African countries, Sabdiyo Dido Bashuna, director for youth, gender and inclusiveness at Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa pointed out three major barriers for women seeking opportunities in markets: limited access to competitive assets such as capital investments, financial planning and networks; lack of market access for products and services and contextual constraints including restrictive gender norms.
“Simplifying access to finance, strengthening nano and small entrepreneurs, tailoring financing schemes and building capacity are some of the suggested measures to make women part of agri-food markets and value chains,” she said.