Director's Message

ICAR-Central Institute for Women in Agriculture (ICAR-CIWA) is an Institution first of its kind in India with a unique mandate of gender related research in agriculture. The Institute has a strong multidisciplinary scientific base in agriculture and allied sectors including social sciences, undertaking research addressing women's role, participation, constraints and emerging opportunities that exist for them in agriculture. The institute’s research area focuses on technology assessment and refinement in gender perspective; management of operational drudgery for farm women; livelihood and nutritional security of farm families; gender sensitive extension methodologies; creation of repository of gender disaggregated data and policy advocacy. Most of the activities of the institute align with the national priorities to mainstream and empower women so that they participate in nation building. Recently, to strengthen the Poshan Abhiyan of the Government of India, a “Nutri-Smart Village” programme was launched in November 2021 covering 75 villages in 23 districts in 12 states of India.
The institute has also been working closely with the National Gender Resource in Agriculture (under Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare) for policy related interventions. Besides, it is also working on the capacity building of mid and senior level functionaries, consultancy services and Human Resources Development (HRD) activities. ICAR-CIWA is implementing several collaborative/competitive research projects funded by several national and international organizations like International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), World Bank, National Agricultural Science Fund (NASF), National Innovations on Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA), Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) etc. Several other national and international organizations are in talks with ICAR-CIWA to strengthen the gender research in the country.
The All India Coordinated Research Project (AICRP) on Women in Agriculture (WIA), erstwhile AICRP on Home science is being coordinated by ICAR-CIWA. At present thirteen AICRP centers are located in 12 State Agricultural Universities of the country covering ten Agro-Climatic Zones (ACZs). The AICRP(WIA) takes up the region-specific issues related to women in agriculture to address the livelihood security, household nutrition, drudgery reduction, occupational health hazards and capacity building of agrarian families. AICRP on Ergonomics and Safety in Agriculture (AICRP on ESA) is also functioning at ICAR-CIWA, Bhubaneswar to take up the ergonomical issues of women farmers in rural areas.
ICAR-CIWA has developed and commercialized ‘DRWA hand operated maize dehusker-sheller’. ICAR-CIWA along with its AICRP Centre University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Bangalore has commercialized two technologies on dietary approaches for management of dual burden of malnutrition among farm women, viz., High fibre multigrain mix for management of over nutrition and Nutri-dense laddu (poustikladdu) for management of under nutrition. Patents have been filed for the “Device to Manage Head Load” and "Biodegradable Mesta Composite Pots for Nurseries". Cost effective technologies like fermented fish silage from visceral waste of carps developed at this institute can be used as manure and low-cost poultry feed. One hundred and ten value added handicraft products from under-utilized fibres have also been developed. Twelve different types of protective clothing for various agricultural activities and agri-based textile industry workers have been developed by various AICRP(WIA) centres. Eighteen dietary products with low Glycemic Index have also been developed by the AICRP centres. The institute has been instrumental in developing seven gender sensitive models for enhancing the nutrition, livelihood and income of rural women. Women friendly implements like power operated groundnut stripper cum decorticator and ergonomically suitable low-cost harvesting bag have been developed and several other small tools and implements have been assessed and refined with a gender perspective. Establishment of 50 custom hiring centres/ common facility centres in rural areas have resulted in wider dissemination of women friendly tools and implements. ICAR-CIWA through the various research projects has promoted entrepreneurship among rural women in spice powder production, small scale poultry, goat farming and value-added fish products. ICAR-CIWA has also facilitated formation of two Women Farmers Producers Organization's (FPO’s) to serve as a catalyst to boost their entrepreneurial initiatives.
Collection of gender disaggregated data and creation and maintenance of repository is necessary not only for evoking policy advocacies or recommendations but also to generate mass awareness on the importance of gender in agriculture. The ‘Gender Knowledge System (GKS) in Agriculture’ Portal is an exclusive portal for gender in agriculture based on gender disaggregated data, technologies, methodologies etc. Most of the data collated from public domain are disaggregated up to district level which may help the stakeholders at national and international level, both in gender research and policy making.
The institute acted as a resource agency for Ministry of Panchayti Raj, Government of Odisha to evaluate different gender-based projects, evaluated 'Support to Training and Employment Programme (STEP) projects on women dairy cooperative societies' and 'improved dry fish production of the Ministry on Women and Child Development, Govt. of India implemented by Govt. of Odisha' and the 'Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana (MKSP) project proposals on agriculture and non-timber forest products (NTFPs) for Govt. of Odisha'. The institute has designed gender courses for Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) & course curriculum on Post Graduate Diploma in Agricultural Extension Management (PGDAEM) for National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management (MANAGE), Hyderabad as Member and collaborated with Odisha Livelihood Mission (OLM) to develop educational material (audio-visual) on women friendly farm tools. The institute provided inputs for policy interaction with Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare and Ministry of Rural Development, Govt. of India and supported Odisha Watershed Development Mission (OWDM) for imparting training to Watershed Development functionaries, Government of Uttar Pradesh for imparting State Institute for Management of Agriculture (SIMA) training to Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) workers and progressive farm women and Institute on Management of Agricultural Extension (IMAGE), Government of Odisha to orient the grass root level extension functionaries about gender.
The institute has conducted 60 trainers training programmes so far for researchers, development and extension functionaries. About 75 students from collaborative institutions/ universities have undertaken research (Ph.D and M.Sc) /internship (Graduation) in the institute during last 5 years. More than 27000 farmwomen/ farmers were benefited directly through 550 farmers trainings/ interfaces/ exposure visits/ field visits and some of them were conferred with prestigious awards (Mahindra Samridhi India Agri Award - 2014, Innovative Farm women Award by IARI, New Delhi-2019) at national level and institutional level.
Apart from these the institute conducted about 45 seminars/workshops/webinars and participated in more than 50 exhibitions for showcasing women friendly technologies for farmwomen. The institute organized SAARC Regional Expert Consultation (2018); 1st International Extension Congress (2018), National Conference on ''Revisiting Agricultural Research and Monitoring System for Developing Innovations: to Meet Newer Challenges” (2018), National Symposium on Women’s Land Rights (2015), Global Conference on Women in Agriculture (2012), National Consultation on Gender Perspective on Women in Agriculture (2011).
The Institute is constantly making efforts to bring a significant impact on mainstreaming and empowerment of farm women to realize enhanced productivity and sustainability of agriculture.

Dr. Mridula Devi

Director, ICAR-Central Institute for Women in Agriculture, Bhubaneswar