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Nepal: Women farmers empowered with community-based seed system

Tuesday, January 08, 2013 - The introduction of a community-based seed system, or what locals call the “seed producers’ group,” in the mid-hills of Nepal has brought remarkable improvements in the lives of women farmers in the area. 

This was what members of the Mahjuwa Ladies Seed Producers’ Group and the Harrabot Ladies Seed Producers’ Group, both of Lamjung, Nepal, said to the team from the Consortium for Unfavorable Rice Environments (CURE) that came to document the groups' experiences in early December 2012.  

“We can now speak; we know many things now,” Devi Shrestra of the Harrabot group said.

“Our confidence in raising productivity in our own farms has developed,” added Kalpana Sapkota of the Mahjuwa group.

The team from CURE—Digna Manzanilla (IRRI social scientist and CURE associate coordinator) and Annette Tobias (CURE assistant scientist), went to Lamjung to document the experience of women farmers in the area and the gender-disaggregated division of labor per community.

“We want to analyze the role of women in community-based seed systems and their growing participation in rice farming activities,” Manzanilla said. “We also want to assess the immediate benefits derived by women farmers from their participation in local seed systems and how they contribute to the dispersion of new stress-tolerant varieties developed by the partner-institutions in Nepal.” 

The documentation was supported by Bhaba Tripathi (IRRI-Nepal representative) and NARES partners Bishnu Adikhari and Hari Panta, both from the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Sciences (IAAS) in Lamjung, Nepal, and Devendra Gauchan of the Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC).