Regional Expert Consultation Meeting on "Women's Empowerment for Agricultural Development in South Asia: Enabling Policy" 5-7 September 2018

As a part of the event, the Technology Block and Women Farmers’ Hostel were inaugurated followed by planting of saplings at the premises of the Technology Block by the Dignitaries. While inaugurating the function, Smt. Krishna Raj, Hon'ble Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Govt. of India as Chief Guest expressed her happiness for organizing the SAARC meeting in India. She emphasized the role of women and advocated that ICAR-CIWA should be the global leader in the arena of women empowerment. She highlighted about various schemes and programmes for women empowerment of Government of India. Dr. Trilochan Mohapatra, Secretary, DARE and Director General, ICAR presided over the function. He stressed upon the establishment of Regional Platform for women farmers and workers empowerment by SAARC countries including ICAR-CIWA, Bhubaneswar. Dr. Narendra Singh Rathore, Deputy Director General (Agril. Education), ICAR as the Guest of Honour, categorically mentioned that, the attempts of all SAARC member counries for empowerment of women must come alongwith accountability. He further emphasized on SWOT analysis of various programmes for enabling policies for women farmers and workers. At the outset, Dr. S. K. Srivastava, the Director of the Institute welcomed all the esteemed guests and participants of the programme. The representatives from SAARC Hedquarters Countries, Dr. Md. Younus Ali, Senior Technical Officer, SAARC Agriculture Center gave a brief introduction and overview of consultation meeting. Ma. Estrella A. Penunia, Secretary General, Asian Farmers’ Association and Ms. Fara Kabir, Action Aid, Bangladesh in their opening remarks emphasized on the women's potential roles across the South Asia in achieving higher inclusive growth in agriculture. The programme was attended by 20 representatives from seven countries viz; Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Srilanka.
The SAARC Regional Expert Consultation comprise of four technical sessions alongwith a field visit to ICAR-CIWA adopted village on the concluding day. There will be country paper presentations on ‘Women’s Empowerment for Agriculture Development in South Asia: Enabling Policies’ by respective SAARC country representatives which includes Ms. Fahima Banai (Afghanistan), Dr. Rina Rani Saha (Bangladesh), Ms. Kuenzang Peldon (Bhutan), Dr. Narendra Singh Rathore (India) under the chairmanship of Ms. Farah Kabir, Country Director, Action Aid, Bangladesh during Session I. Similarly, in Session II, there will be presentations by Ms. Mariyam Shajua (Maldives), Ms. Bidya Pandey (Nepal), Ms. K.N.S. Ranathunga (Sri Lanka) and Plenary reporting by Mr. Md. Helal Uddin, Program Manager, Action Aid Bangladesh under the chairmanship of Dr. N.S. Rathore, Deputy Director General (Agril. Education), ICAR. Successful initiatives on women in agriculture will be shared during Technical Session III in which Ms. Desai Megha and Ms. Patel Chandrika, SEWA, India will present 'Best practices on adaption of agricultural technologies'. Other presentations of this session include 'Women empowered through involvement in agriculture' (by Indika Priyanthi Somasiri Ranhitige, President, Matale District Lanka Farmers Forum, Sri Lanka), 'Strengthening entrepreneurship of women' (by Action Aid Bangladesh), 'Financial strengthening of women in agriculture' (by farmer representative, Central Tea Cooperative Forum (CTCF), Nepal) under the chairmanship of Dr. S. K. Srivastava, Director, ICAR-CIWA. Technical Session IV under the chairmanship of Dr. P. S. Pandey, Asst. Director General (EP&HS), ICAR comprises of invited technical paper presentations by Dr. P. Das, Former Deputy Director General (Agril. Extension), ICAR on 'Gender Gap in Agriculture: Appropriate Policies and Programs' and 'Gender Development in Agriculture: Technologies, Approaches and Impact' by Dr. Krishna Srinath, Former Director, ICAR-CIWA. There will be country level discussions for identifying the successful factors, lessons learned and recommendations on a conceptual framework for policy and actions towards women in agriculture.
The inaugural session was also attednded by Dr. P. S. Pandey, ADG, (EP&HS), ICAR, Dr. S. N. Pasupalak, Vice Chancellor, OUAT, Directors and Heads of ICAR Institutes located at Bhubaneswar and Cuttack alongwith other officials. An exhibition was also arranged to display the women friendly technologies in agriculture. The event ended with a formal vote of thanks proposed by Dr. Lipi Das, Principal Scientist, ICAR-CIWA and Coordinator of the programme.