Skip to Content
Empowering Tribal Women Farmers: ICRISAT's International Women's Day Celebration in Odisha

Empowering Tribal Women Farmers: ICRISAT's International Women's Day Celebration in Odisha

Media Release

March 13, 2024 – Women farmers in the Kalahandi and Bargarh districts of Odisha were celebrated as key change agents for the transformation of the drylands during ICRISAT's International Women's Day celebrations in the state. These women play a vital role in the Rice Fallow Management project, a prominent initiative led by the Government of Odisha, and their contributions are immensely valuable.

The celebration primarily aimed to honor the leading women farmers who are spearheading change in rice fallows and sharing knowledge with fellow farmers from self-help groups. More than 150 women farmers from both districts attended the event, including 55 members from Women Self-Help Groups in Bargarh and 49 from Kalahandi.

"Thank you for acknowledging us and inviting us to this International Women's Day event. It brings us great joy and motivates us to strive even harder for change," shared Farmer, Kamala Pradhan. "Farming can be challenging for women, but when our efforts are recognized and appreciated, it fills us with happiness. We are grateful to ICRISAT for recognizing our hard work and for celebrating with us today."
Photo: Kamala Pradhan (Farmer) 
Photo: Kamala Pradhan (Farmer) 

The program began with an interactive session aimed at evaluating the experiences of women farmers engaged in this new initiative. Women exchanged insights on introducing pulses in rice fallows and discussed the crucial aspect of ensuring seed availability for the future and its contribution to achieving seed security for themselves and other women.

Women leaders, who played pivotal roles and inspired many others to participate in the Rice Fallows Project, were also recognized for their significant contributions.

"We are delighted to be part of the Rice Fallow Management program," shared members of the Maa Laxmi Self-Help Group. "It has brought us closer to ensuring food security and providing a little extra income for our households. We learned new cultivation techniques for our fallow land, which have enabled us to produce more food, resulting in a very successful crop this season."

ICRISAT staff provided special attention to the concerns of women farmers by sharing knowledge on seed production and storage techniques to encourage the preservation and reuse of seeds. The exchange of insights on traditional and modern seed systems highlighted unique opportunities for women farmers to contribute to sustainable agriculture.

Director General of ICRISAT, Dr. Jacqueline Hughes, commended the team for facilitating these crucial discussions which highlight the enduring legacy and the evolving role of women in ensuring agricultural resilience and food security.

"The experiences and contributions of women farmers are vital to achieving food security and promoting climate-smart agricultural practices. On this International Women's Day, we are proud to honor these leading women farmers who are driving change and inspiring us all to work even harder for a better future," said Dr Hughes.

This work aligns with SDGs 1, 2 and 3.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Tahira Carter
Tahira Carter Communications Lead for Asia and Africa
Markets, Institutions & Policies Gender and Youth Technology adoption and impact analysis
About The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) is a pioneering International Organization committed to developing and improving dryland farming and agri-food systems to address the challenges of hunger, malnutrition, poverty, and environmental degradation affecting the 2.1 billion people residing in the drylands of Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and beyond.

ICRISAT was established under a Memorandum of Agreement between the Government of India and the CGIAR on the 28 March 1972. In accordance with the Headquarters Agreement, the Government of India has extended the status of a specified “International Organisation” to ICRISAT under section 3 of the United Nations (Privileges and Immunities) Act, 1947 of the Republic of India through Extraordinary Gazette Notification No. UI/222(66)/71, dated 28 October 1972, issued by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.

Our offices:

Asia: India (Headquarters - Hyderabad)

East and Southern Africa:  Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe

West and Central Africa: Mali, Niger, Nigeria

For all media inquiries, please email: [email protected]

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics
Hyderabad, Telangana, India