Sunday, September 29, 2013

Women and Small Farms in Costa Rica

Costa Rica has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2021 and the farmers are marching forward adopting eco-friendly approaches. Interestingly women farmers are taking a lead. View a news clipping on Aljazeera on the initiatives of small farmers going green in Costa Rica. 

Courtesy: Al Jazeera

I had an opportunity to train the farmers and farmer groups in Costa Rica in green technologies for sustainable farming. Amongst the farmers, Ms. Maria Luisa is a 'women hero' leading the small farmers movement in Costa Rica. An innovative climate smart women farmer from Costa  Rica is  extremely passionate on what she does. She also trains fellow farmers in low-cost organic agriculture technologies. These activities are promoted by Fundecooperacion, Asociacion Coordinadora lndigena y Campesina de Agroforesteria Comunitaria Centroamericana (ACICAFOC) and the National Institute for Innovation and Transfer of Agricultural Technology (INTA), Ministry of Agriculture, Costa Rica. 

Ms. Maria Luisa
Women play a very important role in farming contributing nearly 50% of the work force. Unfortunately the women farmers are not even recognised as farmers and face widespread restrictions to the access of resources, decision making and land rights. The first Prime Minister of India, Pandit  Jawaharlal Nehru said  To awaken the people, it is the women who must be awakened. Once she is on the move, the family moves, the village moves, the nation moves” 

Empowering women is very crucial  for alleviating poverty and rural development. After the Millennium development Goals (MDG) come to an end, the post 2015 sustainable development agenda should focus on  gender equity and equality in agriculture. Maria Luisa's case is a beginning  and also an example for other women,  organisations and nations to emulate.