Collective and Organic Farming in Tamil Nadu: Women’s Participation, Empowerment and Food Sovereignty

  •  Dhruv Pande    
  •  Munmun Jha    


The aim of this paper is to explore the notion of women’s participation, empowerment and food sovereignty among the marginalized women farmers in the state of Tamil Nadu in India. The women farmers who belong largely to the so-called lower castes have been marginalized due to the persistent presence of the patriarchal structure and the continued oppression and discrimination in a caste-ridden society. This is supported and supplemented by the policies and politics of globalization through the state apparatus. This research, based on the fieldwork method, highlights the hitherto undermined role of women farmers in the wake of their efforts at establishing enhanced and sustainable socio-economic relations in connection with the local agricultural land which accounts for their economic and social independence and sovereignty, especially food sovereignty. The process marking this transformation includes collective and organic farming based on millets leading to the creation of an inherent and integral food sovereignty vis-a-vis the increasing usurpation of agricultural land through the nexus of the state government and private companies. The paper also analyzes the issue of land ownership, litigation cases involving women, and the role of community organizations which impel the hitherto marginalized women towards self-sustainable, self-sufficient and self-governed environment in rural agricultural economy.

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