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Enhancement of Women Farmers' Role in the Development of Rural Asia

Rural development in Asia is to considerably depend on the capacity enhancement of women farmers in view of the rapid feminization of agriculture in the last three decades. Nowadays, women farmers not only play a major role in agriculture, but also provide a vital contribution to the stability and development of rural communities. In spite of their great contribution to the increase in household income and community development, lack of resources deprives them of opportunities for their own capacity building and improved quality of life. In addition, gender gap seriously restricts women’s access to legal, institutional and policy support services. For instance, many existing technologies for practical farming, which were originally designed by male-dominated research system, could not meet the actual needs of resource-poor women farmers. Also, there are very few programs and technologies for income generation and improved quality of life available to women farmers under a new rural environment. Because of the diversified and location-specific nature of women farmers’ issues, there are no internationally standardized models applicable to most Asian countries, which can be shared and used as a basis for the development of institutional and policy support at the national and regional levels. It is, therefore, a matter of urgency to address Asian women farmers’ issues in a more holistic manner.


To identify the current situation and needs of Asian women farmers’ in agricultural production and rural livelihood, and their roles in rural development.

  1. To share and exchange practical technologies and extension schemes to augment the current situation of women farmers and improve their potential contribution to rural development, particularly: a) practical technologies, skills, and training programs necessary for women farmers to sustain agricultural productivity; b) income generating activities to enable women farmers to maintain household economies; and c) measures to improve women farmers’ quality of life.
  2. To benchmark practical solutions and legal, institutional and policy measures for women-farmers to secure access to agricultural/social resources such as credit/finance, technological and health related information.
  3. To provide extension researchers and practitioners with a manual that can serve as a basic reference in setting up practical programs and policies for enhancing women farmers’ role in rural development applicable to each Asian country.
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