Social norms and the physical effort required to operate heavy farm machinery can exclude women from agriculture and related business opportunities.
Through mechanization solutions, CIMMYT is helping women to overcome these challenges and become successful entrepreneurs.
In Nepal, women head more and more farming households, as their partners and young men have left to work abroad. However, women are not always familiar with farming practices, especially heavy equipment. Through the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA), CIMMYT introduced farmers in Nepal to the precision spreader, a hand-operated device that is easy and convenient to use for all. It also distributes fertilizer evenly, so farmers use the right amount and save money.
Starting two-wheel tractors can also pose a challenge for women entrepreneurs. Halima Begum, a farmer in Bangladesh’s Chuadanga district, wanted to provide mechanization services for other farmers in the area, to increase her income. However, cranking to start up the tractor required a lot of strength and she had to rely on others for help.
Now, using an electronic self-starter, she can start the tractor with the flick of a lever. This device reduces the risk of accidents and encourages women and youth to become entrepreneurs of agricultural mechanization services. CIMMYT, through the CSISA project, is manufacturing these self-starter attachments for two-wheel tractors in Bangladesh.
Similarly, in Zimbabwe, Agatha Dzvengwe and Marianne Jaji have become successful entrepreneurs as two-wheel tractor service providers. One of the key outcomes of the Farm Mechanization and Conservation Agriculture for Sustainable Intensification (FACASI) project, funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), is to increase awareness among women and youth of the business opportunities related to small-scale mechanization.
“We have been freed from the burden of toiling in the field. Now that I own a two-wheel tractor, the society respects me more,” Jaji said.
Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
© International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), 2020. All rights reserved. The designations employed in the presentation of materials in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of CIMMYT or its contributory organizations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city, or area, or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. CIMMYT encourages fair use of this material. Proper citation is requested.
On September 24, 2013, the newly formed United Nations (UN) High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development held its ﬁrst meeting. At the Rio+20 Conference, Member States also agreed to launch a process to develop a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were to build upon the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that were established in 2000 and expired in 2015.
Of the 17 individual goals, 10 relate directly to CGIAR activities and to CIMMYT’s mandate. The SDGs have set the pathway for the next 15 years of agricultural, social, and economic development. Likewise, CGIAR has transformed its approach to ensure that its work aligns with the ambitious goals.
CIMMYT, through its research for development activities, is working toward a world free of poverty, hunger, and environmental degradation. CIMMYT and CGIAR efforts help bring the world closer to reaching the goals, such as the empowerment of women, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and the improvement of health and nutrition for the world’s poorest people.
CIMMYT’s work contributes to the following SDGs:
CIMMYT — the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center — is the global leader in publicly-funded maize and wheat research and related farming systems. Headquartered near Mexico City, CIMMYT works with hundreds of partners throughout the developing world to sustainably increase the productivity of maize and wheat cropping systems, thus improving global food security and reducing poverty. CIMMYT is a member of the CGIAR System and leads the CGIAR Research Programs on Maize and Wheat and the Excellence in Breeding Platform. The Center receives support from national governments, foundations, development banks and other public and private agencies.
For more information, visit www.cimmyt.org.