National webinar on “Digital Media: A powerful tool to empower rural women in agriculture”

A National Webinar on “Digital Media: A powerful Tool to Empower Rural Women in Agriculture” was organized by ICAR-Central Institute for Women in Agriculture, Bhubaneswar on 7 September, 2021. The webinar was organized with the objective to understand how rural women utilize digital and communication technologies in the Indian context and equip participants with mindset and skill set to help them develop appropriate marketing strategies for products and services. The programme was chaired by Dr Anil Kumar, Director, ICAR-CIWA, Bhubaneswar. The key note speech on the topic was delivered by Dr. Pragati Gokhale Chief Mentor, Mission Mera Mobile Mera Marketing, Advisor, Rajiv Gandhi Science & Technology Commission (Govt. of Maharashtra) & DST SEED Program, National Resource Person, Ministry of Rural Development Govt. of India. The Director, ICAR-CIWA, Dr Anil Kumar in his opening remarks emphasized that Agriculture plays an important role in rural and national development. Women are twice as likely to be involved in agricultural related activity as men. Many women experience a life that is a complex web of multiple roles and multi task. Women in the rural areas are extensively involved in serious farm operation and agricultural activities.Looking at the national average of women in the agricultural labour force, they vary but globally they have a principal role in agro business, food processing and consumer related activity. Women consists 60-80 per cent of labour in agriculture starting from production, processing and marketing of food. The emergence of Digital Media has enabled to collaborate, interact and information in a fast pace which has brought a greater impact on society. Digital Media do play an important role in disseminating a wide range of information and advice leading to knowledge and attitude change among rural communities. Use of Digital Media is required to promote the expansion of local markets and provide direct access for women producers to international markets and productive resources. Digital Media also adds to the tremendous potential for improving rural livelihood. Dr. Pragati Gokhale in her keynote address highlighted the different aspects of marketing of and advised all the stakeholders to take utmost opportunities to use the portal for the benefits of rural farming community. She emphasized that there has been worldwide recognition of the importance of ICTs as tools to promote women’s empowerment, right and dignity and full participation in the information society by providing immense possibilities for enhancing women’s participation in socioeconomic development.
The webinar was attended by more than 100 participants included staffs of ICAR-CIWA, AICRP on Home Science, academicians, NGO Personnel, Farmers. Dr. Jyoti Nayak, Principal Scientist, ICAR-CIWA was the convener of the webinar, Er. Mhatre Chaitrali Shashank, Scientist, ICAR-CIWA and Mrs Geeta Saha, Technical Officer, ICAR-CIWA were the co-conveners of the webinar. The technical aspects of the virtual webinar were coordinated by Er Subrat Ku Das, Senior Technical Assistant, ICAR-CIWA.