How do social norms around gender influence the work of
agricultural development professionals? A recent workshop held in Mexico for
agricultural extension professionals – comprising 20 women and 26 men – turned
the spotlight on the topic of “masculinities”, defined as “a set of
attributes, values, and behaviors that are characteristic of being a man in a
given society and time.”
The workshop was organized by CIMMYT’s Gender and Social Inclusion Unit and facilitated by GENDES, a Mexican NGO that specializes on working with men on topics of gender and masculinities. The event was funded by the Mexican Government as part of the MasAgro project.
The majority of extension agents in Mexico are men and socially
and culturally constructed norms of how men should act directly impact the
ability of women farmers to access and benefit from rural advisory services. The
idea of discussing norms around masculinities came from the extension agents
themselves. One of the objectives of this workshop was to reflect upon the
concept of “machismo” in Mexico, and how it influences the extension work of
Digital Green’s idea to film and screen ‘best practice’ videos of farming techniques across villages in India has won over both farmers and the government. To date, the non-profit international development organization has produced over 2,800 videos in more than 20 languages, reaching 3,000 villages and over 330,000 farmers. The organization currently implements projects in eight states in India and in select areas in Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique and Tanzania in Africa with over 20 partners.
Kisan Sakhi, meaning “a woman farmer friend,” is an initiative jointly started by the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) and the Bihar Mahila Samakhya (Indian government program on women’s equality) that aims to disseminate new climate-resilient and sustainable farming technologies and practices to help empower women farmers in Bihar. Six areas have been identified – Bochaha, Bandra, Aurai, Gai Ghat, Musahri and Kudhni – in the district Muzaffarpur for the pilot work.
CSISA has introduced new technologies to more than 300 Kisan Sakhi members such as improved weed management, intercropping in maize, intensification of cropping systems with summer green gram, machine transplanting of rice under non-puddled conditions and management of community nurseries. CSISA also aims to support champion women farmer entrepreneurs, who could deliver custom hire services for community nurseries and machine transplanting.
Globally, about one-third of the food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted. In developed countries, much of that loss is the result of consumers throwing away millions of tons of edible food each year. But in the developing world, most loss occurs either in the field before a crop is harvested, during harvest and handling or afterwards in storage.