The idea of Bhumijaa (“Rebirthing the Earth”) was born against the backdrop of the challenges that women agripreneurs face and the opportunities that can be created to enhance their contribution to the rural economy as a vital component of both the peasant food web and the sustainable or healthy food movement.
Bhumijaa’s focus on women farmers and agripreneurs is based on a philosophy of feminine energy and the environment. Bhumijaa draws on the holistic view that separating our well being from the well being of the Earth cannot be sustainable, as we have already discovered in the rising levels of soil, water, and air pollution, and lifestyle diseases.
Farming, unlike white-collar work, brings the individual closer to the Earth. As such, the industrialization of agriculture and food which makes the farmer just a cog in the wheel removes our connection with nature and leads us to be alienated from ourselves. To bring back the connection and that sense of nurturing the Earth, we need to invoke the feminine in us. Tending the soil is akin to tending to children. It requires as much individual care and thought.
Big farms requiring big machines and large quantities of fertilizers break that spirit and sacredness. Hence, our trust in the small and therefore, by extension, in the small farmer. When the small farmer renews his or her relationship with the soil, with themselves, and with the community, the Earth is renewed and the woman has that magical power to make this happen truly.
The Economic Survey 2017-18’s view is reflected in the growing global awareness of the criticality of women’s work in ensuring food security and preserving local agro-biodiversity. Women are recognized as responsible for the integrated management and use of diverse natural resources to meet the daily household needs. In a similar vein, the ETC Group—a research institute that studies the impact of ecology, and technology on the world’s poorest people—observes in a 2017 report, how the peasant food web (PFW) of small-scale producers, usually family or 2 women-led, and including farmers, livestock-keepers and urban/peri-urban producers—most of whom are organic—feed 70% of the world. The more powerful industrial food chain sector (IFC) controls the rest but has more influence on food policies than the PFW.
Trends in women agripreneurship
Several trends in women-led agribusinesses both at rural and urban levels, point to the opportunity to create a greater impact on agriculture productivity and farm incomes through enhanced development of agripreneurship. Specifically In urban areas, women are playing a pivotal role in directly connecting the urban consumer to the farmer, creating efficient value chains and market linkages while spreading awareness and education. Urban farming initiatives led by women is another such trend that is being increasingly seen as a sustainable route to providing locally sourced (and therefore, healthier) food to urban markets.
Bhumijaa aims to develop 1000 women agripreneurs by 2021. These in turn will create ripple effects in entrepreneurship in agriculture nationally, boosting sustainable agriculture practices, enhanced rural incomes, and healthier citizens.
The Bhumijaa mission involves:
- Promoting agriculture-based ventures that are focused on women and organic food that link
- production and markets
- Capacity building in self-leadership, agripreneurship and natural farming
- Promoting traditional food and food systems
- Mentoring of agripreneurs and farmer producer organizations
- Influencing government policy (advocacy)
- Environment-friendly: The focus of our work is on ensuring the health of soil, water and air, are sustained
- Respect: for every individual, especially women, and for the Earth.
- Inclusive: We work in the spirit of nurturing and inclusivity.
- Collaboration: We give collaboration and cooperation primacy over competition. We have a community-based approach.
- Need-based growth: We value need-based growth over greed-based growth. The focus is on catering to needs of farmers without depleting the nation’s natural resources.
- Spirit of abundance: The mentality of “abundance” will replace the mentality of “scarcity”.
The Bhumijaa Model
- Role Out of Bhumijaa Agripreneurship Program (BAP)
- Creation of Bhumijaa Market Solutions (BMS)
This unique integrated approach plans to train and equip a WA (Woman Agripreneur) from ideation to implementation stage to successfully run her venture and simultaneously connect her to a growing market place, in which Bhumijaa will play a major role of activation.
To do the above, we have the following areas of action:
Enhancing, Promoting, Reviving Traditional foods and Food system, Facilitating access to state-of-art ‘good’ technologies, Building a national network for knowledge sharing, mentoring and business promotion, Fostering a Backward Linkage for livelihood creation of marginal and small farmers and Creating Consumer demand, marketing platform and sustainable revenue models.