MKSP programme of MSSRF in Vidarbha Region

M S Swaminathan Research Foundation initiated the "Programme for the Empowerment of Women Farmers", the "Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana (MKSP)", for empowering women farmers, including the widows of farmers who had committed suicide, in Wardha and Yavatmal districts of Vidarbha region, in 2007. The programme aims at creating an environment of hope that will help alleviate the mood of distress and empower women farmers to make key decisions pertaining to their agricultural practices and their households. The empowerment measures cover a wide range of areas related to: enhancing the productivity, profitability and sustainability of small-scale rain-fed farming; promoting household food security; strengthening institutions at the grassroots; and creating awareness on rights and entitlements.

MKSP is a membership-based programme wherein women farmers are formed into groups at the village level, called in Marathi as Jagrit Mahila Shetkari Samitis. The groups have operational guidelines, which ensure that their affairs are democratically managed, based on clearly spelt out objectives, norms, and rules. Each ‘women farmers’ group’ is formed in such a way that it has a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 20 members. As of March 2014, there are 215 samitis spread across 60 villages in two districts of Vidarbha, namely Wardha and Yavatamal. The total membership is 3265.

MSSRF received funding from the Ministry of Rural Development, for a three year period, since December 2011 for strengthening and expansion of MKSP.

A film on MKSP