ANTIGONISH: A senior staff member at the Coady International Institute says because of the migration of male farmers to urban areas in search of better jobs in the global South – the burden of agriculture has fallen on women.

In the National Innovation Fund’s second cohort of funding for innovations addressing challenges related to agriculture, climate change and environment, education and livelihoods, all with a focus on gender equality – a project from the Coady was awarded over $230,000.

“Traditionally, women used to work on the farm, they would take care of the farm, they would take care of their home and own food security, but they were not in charge of running the farm,” Yogesh Ghore told The Reporter. “The burden of running the farm as an enterprise has fallen on [the] woman, but with that if you’re running an enterprise – you need the business tools.”

The project “Farmer-led Tools, Dashboard Development, and the Future of Farming” will test tools with women farmers to identify capacity building needs, such as accessing new technologies, credit, infrastructure, markets, financial and business planning/management.

“Through this project, what we’re trying to do is, give women farmers the tools that she needs to run the farm like a business,” Ghore said.

It will also test a farmer-led indicator dashboard and explore the opportunities and impacts of big data and future of farming at the smallholder farmer level in the Nyando Valley (Kenya) and in two districts of Gujarat State in India.

“Food security is a huge concern in these countries, if a woman becomes a more entrepreneurial farmer that it helps the food security locally,” Ghore said. “Typically in these countries, the women farmers are not formally educated – so we need to find a way to give the farmers, who are not educated, the tools but in a way they understand and can still apply the business practices.”

The Coady was one of nine organizations from across the country, and the only organization in Atlantic Canada to be selected to test innovative solutions that will improve the lives of women and girls in developing countries.