Addressing inequalities and accelerating SDGs

Agriculture Collectives of Marginalized Women


2023-24 Scale-up project


Project presentation

In India’s Bihar and West Bengal states, and the Tarai of Nepal, land inequality is acute, and a majority of rural women are either landless working as a tenant, or work on very marginal plots of family land. These are the farmers most challenged by climate change and a rising male out-migration from agriculture. At the same time, women farmers experience limited access to agriculture inputs such as irrigation and technology due to fragmented and small plots. Action research in South Asia shows that by pooling their land, labor, capital and skills in self-organized collectives can sustainably allow women to sustainably increase skills and knowledge, generate economies of scale in agricultural production, and importantly, improve their bargaining power in deeply feudal and masculine local contexts. As they continue this work in Asia, they also aim to take forward these lessons into Africa.


Organization presentation

IWMI is a research-for-development (R4D) organization, with a network of scientists operating across 30 countries. For three decades, their research has led to changes in water management that have contributed to social & economic development. The School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Birmingham is an interdisciplinary institution, bringing together expertise from across the physical & social sciences to advance understanding of the planet and its people.



“Agricultural collectives have pooled land, labour and capital to help marginal and tenant women farmers overcome barriers to irrigation and sustainable intensification & transform their bargaining power in land and product markets.”

Fraser Sugden, Associate Professor, University of Birmingham.