A needs-based approach to promoting gender equity and inclusivity: Insights from participatory research with farmer-producer organisations (FPOs)

Harrington, Tomás ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3351-3331, Narain, Nivedita, Rao, Nitya ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6318-0147, Rengalakshmi, Raj, Sogani, Reetu, Chakraborty, Shuvajit and Upadhyay, Astha (2023) A needs-based approach to promoting gender equity and inclusivity: Insights from participatory research with farmer-producer organisations (FPOs). Journal of Social and Economic Development. ISSN 0972-5792

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The farmer-producer organisation (FPO) is an umbrella term used to describe modes of farmer collectivisation in India, i.e. co-operatives and companies. While women cultivators play a central role in agriculture, their continued marginalisation is reflected in a lack of engagement in FPO activities and governance structures, with only 3% of existing FPOs being female-led ventures. This paper examines the nature of tensions around social inequities—and how such tensions might be addressed in the collective spaces offered by FPOs—using a gender lens, specifically in balancing conflicting pressures of economic performance versus inclusion and meeting specific members' needs. Using a participatory research approach, a conceptual framework is developed and applied in three FPOs operating at various stages of development. With a specific focus on gender equity and social inclusion, selected cases involved FPOs with > 75% female membership and scheduled caste/tribe participation. Qualitative data on societal needs, based on the expectations and experiences of FPO participants, are then analysed to better understand (1) what might promote FPO participation and (2) how equity and inclusion may be enabled from the ‘bottom-up’. This exploratory study informs the collective action debate with its new and intersectional approach to gender equity and inclusivity. Empirical observations and within-case analyses involving FPOs provide new insights into the functioning of these institutions and nuanced interactions involving their members. Findings suggest that informal micro-producer arrangements or vyavastha, in the FPO pre-registration phase, are well positioned to act as spatial agents for establishing ethical norms as FPOs collectivise and grow. In terms of promoting social objectives and evaluating FPOs operating in different stages, a set of guiding principles are proposed with follow-on implications for policy.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding information: The research leading to these results received funding from the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) under Grant Agreement Reference No. BB/P027970/1, Project Title: ‘Transforming India’s Green Revolution by Research and Empowerment for Sustainable food Supplies’ (Project Acronym: TIGR2ESS). The authors collected the data from the study sites and had the full consent of all participants.
Uncontrolled Keywords: collective spaces,farmer-producer organisation (fpo),gender equity,inclusive development,india,individual needs,women farmers,education,economics, econometrics and finance (miscellaneous),social sciences (miscellaneous),sdg 5 - gender equality,sdg 10 - reduced inequalities ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3300/3304
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > Norwich Business School
Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Global Development (formerly School of International Development)
University of East Anglia Research Groups/Centres > Theme - ClimateUEA
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Innovation, Technology and Operations Management
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Literacy and Development Group
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Life Course, Migration and Wellbeing
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Health and Disease
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Gender and Development
University of East Anglia Schools > Faculty of Science > Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
Faculty of Science > Research Centres > Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2023 00:42
Last Modified: 05 Dec 2023 02:34
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/93356
DOI: 10.1007/s40847-023-00280-x

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