15 October 2022, New Delhi: PepsiCo partnered with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in 2019 to empower women in agriculture and help build a more sustainable food system.
The initiative provided potato production training to over 1000 women in the state of West Bengal and continues to offer gender awareness training to PepsiCo India‘s staff as well.
Anita who lives in Bankura district of West Bengal attended the agronomy training on potato farming offered by PepsiCo and USAID in 2020-21. This was the first time she attended any training on agricultural practices. Her family encouraged her to participate in the training.
The training taught her the package of practices for PepsiCo potato farming, especially seed cutting and seed treatment, agrochemical use, waste disposal, and record keeping.
She learned the scientific practices, as well as the reasons for adopting practices which helps to increase productivity. It also helped to comply with PepsiCo’s sustainable farming program and helped her to recognize herself as a farmer.
When we visualise a farmer, we often visualise a ‘male figure’ working in his field. The role of female farmers has never been captured who is the backbone of agriculture. Female were always considered as ‘farm wives’ but it doesn’t justifies their contribution in agriculture.
Sujata Pramanick, a 34-year-old Community Agronomist, and a member of Chandra Self-Help Group from Barasat (Ramchandrapur) village of Bankura district has time and again proven to be an example of how a female farmer looks like through her efforts. Not only as a farmer but as an agronomist, she has been working tirelessly towards breaking the stereotype that women can’t be a farmer and encouraging women from her community to come out of their spaces and create their identity.
Sujata Pramanick is a mother of a child and a farmer who manages to do all the agricultural activities from seed cutting, sowing, land preparation, pesticide spraying to harvesting in her husband’s land which is close to 2.5 bigha (0.3 hectares) single-handedly as her husband stays away for work. She actively participates in decision making and takes all the decision on investment and expenditure with her husband collectively.
Like Anita and Sujata, there are many other women who participated in the training understand the importance of women in farming practices. They even prefer to introduce themselves as farmers instead of “wife of a farmer”.
The partnership of PepsiCo with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) has helped improve access to land, skills, employment and entrepreneurial opportunities to increase the adoption of sustainable farming practices (SFPs) and in overall improvement of women’s livelihood.
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