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Empowering women farmers

A mechanization catalogue for practitioners








  • as customers of mechanization service providers - reducing their drudgery, and freeing up time for resting or opting for other social or economic activities;
  • as operators of machinery and equipment or staff of a mechanization hiring services business - offering their service to others to earn an income;
  • as entrepreneurs managing their own mechanization hiring services agribusiness - providing a service for other farmers and generating revenue.
The goal of this catalogue is to promote and support women’s access to sustainable agricultural mechanization as operators and/or managers. It lists and provides information on market-tested machinery and equipment for crop production and post-harvest operations. This catalogue highlights the potential for smallholder farmers, including women, to earn an income via mechanization hire service. The information for each machine or equipment includes:
  • its function
  • its main features
  • what it is suitable for
  • its technical specifications (key features only)
  • where to buy
  • its pictures.
The target audience includes extensionists, gender experts, agricultural engineers, government officials, donors, micro-finance institutions, and implementing partners seeking to:
  • promote inclusive agricultural mechanization interventions;
  • reduce women’s drudgery and improve the efficiency of tasks they perform;
  • address gender issues in agriculture;
  • support economic opportunities for women as entrepreneurs.



Justice, S., Flores Rojas, M. & Basnyat, M. 2022. Empowering women farmers -  A mechanization catalogue for practitioners. Rome, FAO.




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    Women farmers and sustainable mechanization
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    Mountain agriculture is physically demanding and time-consuming. Rural women, who mostly work as subsistence farmers while also performing domestic work and communal activities, often face a poverty trap, undermining their well-being. Despite increasing labour participation in this sector, women remain invisible as active players and agents of change. A range of new and inexpensive agriculture machinery, adapted to local conditions, could potentially enhance labour productivity, reduce work burden and drudgery, and enable women to gain new skills and knowledge that can transform rural gender relations and reduce inequalities. It could also allow them to shift from subsistence to more market-oriented farming. However, the extent to which these technologies are available, suitably introduced (by individual use or via extension services), or adopted by women farmers in the HKH is still not clear. The webinar series Through the webinar series, ICIMOD and FAO expect to create awareness and action around current mechanization gaps and help identify good practices and possible solutions for empowering women farmers in the region. The webinar series will discuss strategies contributing to the process of mainstreaming and institutionalizing successful efforts of agricultural mechanization for improving productivity while also reducing drudgery for women farmers. The role of the private sector in agri-mechanization The third webinar of the series aims to critically discuss alternative pathways to agricultural mechanization innovation, powered by local manufacturers and entrepreneurs, and the development of scale-appropriate machines and tools suitable for the sustainable development of hill and mountain farming systems. In this context, the webinar will focus on two key areas where the private sector can play a major role in agricultural mechanization. These are (i) supporting sustainable markets for manufacturing, supplying, and importing of machines, equipment, and spare parts; (ii) provision of mechanization hire services. The first webinar of this series, Episode I: The Nepal Chapter was organized on 5 March 2021 followed by Episode II: The Bhutan Chapter organized on 7 May 2021.
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    Brochure, flyer, fact-sheet
    Gender-responsive needs assessment for mechanization
    Questionnaire
    2022
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    The objective of the questionnaire is to guide the selection and promotion of mechanization that responds to the needs of women farmers for their benefit and empowerment. The information compiled builds interventions that reduce women’s drudgery, increase labour productivity, and create income and business opportunities through the provision of mechanization services in rural communities. This questionnaire allows for the collection of data to perform a gender-responsive needs assessment for mechanization. There are 35 questions divided into five modules:
    • personal information;
    • land, crop, value chain and division of work;
    • workload;
    • access to and constraints in adopting agricultural mechanization; and
    • mechanization services.
    Why do we carry out a gender-responsive needs assessment for mechanization?
    • Gender dynamics and social norms determine technology access and use.
    • Even though no role is necessarily exclusively performed by just women or men, the traditional division of labour tends to assign specific responsibilities along value chains to women and others to men.
    • Women and men have different technology and mechanization needs. These needs do not always determine the choice of machines and equipment.
    • Women tend to be more affected by the drudgery of manual work (hence work burden and time poverty). At the same time, men often carry out tasks that are supported by technology.
    • There is a need to identify critical gender gaps and constraints in access to local institutions and organizations that determine technology use and management.
    • There is a need to identify critical gender gaps and constraints in access to key formal and informal services such as information, repair and maintenance, training, financial and business development services, etc.
  • Thumbnail Image
    Brochure, flyer, fact-sheet
    Women farmers and sustainable mechanization
    Improving lives and livelihoods in the Hindu Kush Himalaya
    2021
    Also available in:
    No results found.

    Women farmers and sustainable mechanization: Improving lives and livelihoods in the Hindu Kush Himalaya Episode I: The Nepal chapter Mountain agriculture is physically demanding and time-consuming. Rural women, who mostly work as subsistence farmers while also performing domestic work and communal activities, often face a poverty trap, undermining their well-being. Despite increasing labor participation in this sector, women remain invisible as active players and agents of change. A range of new and inexpensive agriculture machinery, adapted to local conditions, could potentially enhance labor productivity, reduce work burden and drudgery, and enable women to gain new skills and knowledge that can transform rural gender relations and reduce inequalities. It could also allow them to shift from subsistence to more market-oriented farming. However, the extent to which these technologies are available, suitably introduced (by individual use or via extension services), or adopted by women farmers in the HKH is still not clear. Given this background, ICIMOD and the FAO have come together to organize a series of country-specific (Nepal, Bhutan, and Myanmar) and regional webinars to discuss current mechanization gaps, and identify good practices and possible solutions for improving and facilitating women’s active participation in agriculture. The webinar series The webinar series will discuss strategies contributing to the process of mainstreaming and institutionalizing successful efforts of agricultural mechanization for improving productivity while also reducing drudgery for women farmers. Objectives The specific objectives of the webinar series are:
    • Share lessons learned from projects, programmes, and policies focusing on agricultural mechanization for women in the HKH
    • Showcase successful examples and solutions of agricultural mechanization used in the HKH
    • Identify key actionable solutions and approaches to promote agricultural mechanization in the HKH
    Each webinar will conclude with a call for action to align policy with practice to leverage technology to address the constraints and solutions that women farmers face for sustainable, efficient, and profitable farming.

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