Beyond incomes: What is the true impact of engaging in seed production on women's lives?

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Afreen Khan, Ranjitha Puskur, Suchaita Tenneti

Two Farmer Producer Companies (FPC) in Odisha, India aim to further sustain their increased yields and bridge productivity gaps by facilitating and activating women’s entrepreneurship in paddy seed production. This blog is a part of IRRI’s 2024 International Women’s Day campaign.

Read Part 1 of this special feature: Empowering women and improving rice yields and productivity through seed production

Seed production in agriculture is often associated with higher yield and economic returns. However, it is a story that transcends the fields and reveals significant changes in the lives of women farmers. In the heartland of Odisha, the narratives of women in agriculture are etched within the fields with each seed sown embodying their resilience and transformation. From the fertile soils of Kalahandi to the determined landscapes of Loisingha, the stories of women seed producers unfold and they paint a picture of empowerment and challenges. This shapes not only their lives but also the agricultural dynamics of their regions.

“Seed production has not just given us a source of income but has given us a voice in our households”, as expressed by Kalyani (name changed). Seed production means more than just earning money; it is a way to gain self-reliance and autonomy for the women engaged. “Seed production became a source of income for us, the ones who couldn’t pursue formal education. It gave us hope and a chance to stand on our own,” Kalyani reflects.

“Being a part of the FPC helps us reach bigger markets, giving us a stronger voice in the sales process as a collective and fetch better returns for our hard work.” While few farmers in these regions are engaged in seed…

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