Gendering Farmer Producer Companies at the Agricultural Frontier of India: Empowerment or Burden?
Farmer Producer Companies (FPCs) are driving agricultural frontier expansions in India. Their main objectives are to mobilize small-scale farmers to collectivize and organize in order to gain collective bargaining power, in the process empowering farmers and eliminating middlemen. However, they have not established any demonstrable success in achieving these goals. This chapter seeks firstly, to draw transnational connections between agro-ecological transformations in India and larger market/capital expansions through FPCs, contextualized amidst national development goals for farmer empowerment, changing labor patterns, and ecological degradation. In doing so, it will, secondly, explore the gendered dimension of FPCs in India by analyzing how the process of establishing women-only FPCs by using mandatory inclusion as a participation tool can serve to disempower and further burden women. While mandatory involvement of women farmers on their Board of Directors as an empowerment strategy can prove crucial to enhancing women’s decision-making roles, this chapter asks whether such an inclusionary approach remains meaningful to achieve FPC success in a context where external support for women’s empowerment is not provided.
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