Project Title: Enhancing Livelihood Security of Women Farmers by Ms.Helam Haokip , Integrated Rural Management Association (IRMA) in Manipur

Tribal women like in many other indigenous societies are responsible for ensuring food for the family and securing nutrition, post-harvest management to ensure continuity of the traditional seeds and food items. Women also nurture and transfer the knowledge and wisdom of farming practices to the future generation. The National policy for women 2016 envisages empowerment of women by further strengthening their policies for rural women farmers and addressing the emerging priorities of the changing society and ensures the rights of women over resources, services and social protection that also includes women’s access to agriculture-based trainings and skill development for both farm and non-farm based entrepreneurship. The non-implementation of policy provisions concerning women and indigenous women in particular remain a challenge. The nutritional and livelihood situation of the communities and women farmers in particular needs to be addressed. IRMA with support from FST initiates revival of the kitchen/backyard gardening and organise women farmers in 5(five) villages by mapping the livelihood situations and conducting awareness on the livelihood and improved nutrition.

Goals and Objectives of the project:

  • Achieving food, nutrition and improved livelihood
  • Security of rural women farmers.
  • Building awareness on the livelihood situations of the communities in the context of social, cultural and economic empowerment of women and recognition of women farmers.

Recent project development till date

  1. Livelihood mapping of the project Villages:

(A)          TWICHIN VILLAGE: Twichin Village was visited on 26 August 2017. There are 40 households in the village out of which 6 households were women headed families who are widows. As per information data collected through Livelihood Mapping, it is prove that 70% of the women in the village are bread earner. 90% of the women are engaging in jhum cultivation. 100% of them use chemical fertilizers in their agriculture fields.

(B)          URANGPAT : Urangpat and its neighbouring villages were visited on 26 august 2017. The area consistsof three small village viz. N. Molhoiphai,Gwaltabi Kuki, and Urangpat.Approximately 50 households reside in the area. As per information data collected through Livelihood Mapping shows that 70% of women are main bread winners of the family. 60% of them engage in agricultural work, 25% in weaving, and 8% in small business like Vegetables Vendors.It is also found that there are 6 widows in the area.

(C)          SEMOL VILLAGE: Semol village was visited on 28th, august, 2017 for the livelihood mapping.. There are 33 households of which 10% of the household are women headed family. As per data collected through Livelihood Mapping 90% engage in agriculture. 40% practices terrace farming and 60% engage in Jhum cultivation.There are 4 widows in the village who are also the main bread earners of their families.

(D)          SAMUSONG VILLAGE: Livelihood mapping exercise for Samusong Village was done on 28th, August, 2017. There are 30 households in the village. As per data collected through Livelihood Mapping 50% of the women are bread earner,70% engage in cultivation, 20% in small business, 5 % homemaker and 55% engage in weaving.

(E)          TWINOMJANG VILLAGE: Twinomjangvillage was visited 29th, August, 2017. There are 20 households in the village. The Livelihood Mapping shows that 70% of the women are bread earner. 90% engage in agriculture, 70% in Jhum cultivation and 30% in terrace cultivation.

Based on the above information on livelihood situation of the women are listed below:

  • 70% of women are farmer.
  • 20% engage in small business
  • 10% engage in weaving with their traditional skills.

Ms.Helam Haokip while introducing the resource person highlighted the objective of the programme and the contributions and role of women in the whole process of securing food from Planting, harvesting, milling, cooking and serving it to the plates are done mostly by women, but they are the one who consume the leftover food and least bothered for their nutrition rather concern for the rest of her family.

Present Livelihood Situation:

In India 66% of woman comprise in agricultural work force. According to the information collected in the previous month in our area 70%of women are engaged in agricultural work .woman are the central in agricultural sector.  A source of livelihood for the large section of the population. They are the wheel for development of food and nutrition and also poverty eradication.

Output: Participants are sensitized on present livelihood situation and also aware on the importance of nutritious food and kitchen garden.

2. Women Farmers Seed Expo 2018:

 The first ever Seed expo  and exchange  programme was held at Elim Resource centre on 17th Feb. 2018.Women farmers from  six villages came with their preserved seeds to participate. It was  also kind of seed festival where village chiefs and some dignitaries like Autonomous District Council Member  joined the programme.

Helam Chief Functionary IRMA gave the concept/key note in organizing the seed expo.The main objective is to  acknowledge and recognize the role of women who are also guardians and custodians of indigenous seeds and passing on to new generations. To promote and enhance the value of indigenous seeds that are on the verge of extinction due to introduction of hybrid and high yielding seeds that are genetically modified. She also urge the village chiefs and elected members to support the cause of women particularly farmers in their effort  for linkages and access to schemes and services.

One of the village chief Mr.Khaipao said that he is surprised to see the enthusiasm and arrangements of a programme like this. This can be replicated in each village as an event so as to promote indigenous seeds .The ADC member Mr.Onthong appreciate the initiative  First organizing women farmers groups and creating  a platform like this where they can share, learn and explore newer ideas to improve their livelihoods.

A film on indigenous seeds and farming was also screened to enlighten the women farmers on the benefits of multiple farming and climate change adaptable seeds like millet in jhum field. The film was shared by North East Network,Chizami  who also promote the same.

3. Exposure Visit

Women farmers from Twinomjang,Semol,Molhoiphai  and Urangpat went for an Exposure visit on the 5th February 2018.They were taken to a place called Khangshim village in Chandel district to practically learn about organic manures namely Bokashi and vermicompost from a progressive farmer Ms.Toshang.Toshang explained to them the benefits and cost effectiveness of using organic manures and also shared her experiences in the field.

IRMA in its plan to build linkages with line departments have started exploring schemes and  extension services from Krishi Vikash Kendra ,Agriculture & Horticulture Departments.Visiting Labour department for obtaining labour card for women farmers  giving due recognition of women farmers and sensitize them on the existing schemes and services.

4. Field visit

A recent field visit by team Foundation for Social Transformation (FST) led by Ritupon Gogoi, Executive Director, FST to Imphal, Manipur. FST took part in a meeting with women farmers’ group in Kangkokpi where we visited a corn field of a women farmer. Some of the highlights of the visit included a women group interaction in Semol village as a part of our project partner Integrated Rural Management Association (IRMA) as a part of the project Enhancing Livelihood Security of Women Farmers by Ms.Helam Haokip.