Pulses, loaded with benefits for the environment and people, have found yet another role in India – empowering rural women.
ICARDA’s India Research Platform is partnering with Tejaswini Rural Women's Empowerment Program, funded by IFAD, to impart improved agricultural technologies and practices to rural women in the state of Madhya Pradesh, with emphasis on value addition and income generation from pulses.
In a recent two-day workshop, held 11-12 January, 2017 in Bhopal, close to 140 women farmers from six districts in Madhya Pradesh learnt about ongoing research and new and improved technologies that can improve pulses yields and produce value-added products. Besides pulses, women also learnt about value-added products from wheat, barley, milk, meat wool, and cactus, where ICARDA is targeting its research in the region.
The workshop was organized under the recently awarded IFAD grant for ICARDA to bring pulses technologies for rice fallows to farmers in Bangladesh, India and Nepal, with emphasis on rural women and youth in value addition and extra income generation.
The participants, coming from tribal communities from remote rural areas, had the opportunity to visit labs and research fields, and increase their awareness of new improved crop varieties and benefits of lentil, chickpea, grasspea, faba bean, barley, durum wheat and cactus. Small-scale ‘dal’ (lentil) mills to dehull pulses were of special interest, as women expressed keen interest in having the mills in their respective villages.
The workshop successfully motivated participating farmers to cultivate grasspea, lentil, chickpea and barley, as they requested seeds of the improved varieties for next year.
The linking with women’s empowerment program paves path for ICARDA’s agricultural research to enable development, advancing the important goals of gender equity, reducing poverty and improving nutrition for rural people in India.
The Tejaswini Rural Women’s Empowerment Program is implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of Madhya Pradesh.