Farm Women's Appeal for Policy Changes (1996)

This document has been made available in electronic format by the International
 Co-operative Alliance ICA
December, 1996
(Source: Asia-Pacific Co-op News, Vol.3, No.1, Sept-Dec.,1996, p.1)

		Farm Women's Appeal for Policy Changes

The Asian Regional Conference of Top Level Women Farm Leaders was jointly organised by the 
International Co-operative Alliance Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ICA ROAP); the 
Central Union of Agricultural Co-operatives (JA ZENCHU); the Institute for the Development
of Agricultural  Co-operation in Asia (IDACA); and the Afro-Asian Rural Reconstruction 
Organisation (AARRO) in Tokyo from 20th to 26th October 1996.  104 participants, including 
44 observers of JA Prefectural Womens Associations in Japan, from 25 countries (Bangladesh, 
Cambodia, China, Egypt, Fiji, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Republic
of Korea, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mauritius, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Syria, 
Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam); and five international organisations (FAO, ILO, AARRO, IFAP 
and ICA) attended the Conference.

The main objectives of the Conference included exchange of views and experiences on the role
of rural women in their participation in agricultural co-operatives, to protect their dignity 
and raising the living standards of rural women engaged in agricultural sector through income 
generating activities and better working environment.
The participants prepared a brief background paper on (a) their organisation, its 
involvement in women-related activities specifically concerned with rural women; and (b) 
an outline of a suggested plan of action for enhancing the participation of women in better 
living activities aimed at improving their standards of living and involvement in the 
development work of agricultural co-operatives which were distributed at the Conference.  
Due to shortage of time, the papers could not be presented at the Conference.  However, 
eight case studies prepared by the participants were  presented to the Conference.

Field visits were arranged on 24th October to give the participants an opportunity to 
observe the functioning of agricultural co-operatives in Kyoto Prefecture.
At the closing session of the Conference held on 23rd October, the participants unanimously 
approved the following resolution.


We, leaders of Asian and African farm women in different positions, who belong to ICA and 
AARRO and who are engaged in activities to elevate the position of farm women have 
assembled here and discussed many problems.

We have assembled here to discuss how to implement at the local and state levels the 
action policy proposed at the Fourth World Conference on Women through solidarity of women 
and to exchange information.

Today, Asian and African farm women are faced with highly varied problems.  There is no end 
to problems such as malnutrition and shortage of water and health facilities which cause 
high rate of infant mortality and care of pregnant women.  Farm women in general are 
gasping under constant overwork by carrying on their back all household chores, child 
upbringing and production activities.

Women in Asia and Africa have been deprived of educational opportunities due to social and 
cultural constraints.  The conditions in which Asian and African farm women are placed were 
reported to the Conference. Because of the rapid increase in population, the farm women 
have been deprived of the minimum required services for bringing up their children.
It was reported that as development projects progress, natural environment is destroyed and 
farmers are deprived o land and production means.  This sacrifice stemming from the 
growing disparity between the rich and the poor is burdening heavily on the shoulders 
of women.
1.	Appeal to Government of all Countries

i.   In order to resolve these problems, the governments of all countries are requested to 
recognise the importance of development of agriculture and farming villages to grasp 
accurately the conditions in which their farm women are placed and to enable them to 
display their abilities to the fullest extent. They have to recognise that this is an 
important common task which the governments of all countries have to grapple with for 
the sake of world peace.

ii. 	Based on this recognition, the governments of each country have to revise legal, 
structural and conventional contradictions in each policy area, such as agriculture, 
environment, education and medical care, give shape to plans to solve these problems, 
and make efforts to push drastic policy measures to resolve these problems.

iii. It is necessary for the governments to provide more support to co-operative system 
through appropriate policy and legislation so that various problems faced by women 
through co-operative organisations would be solved.
2.   Appeal to Co-operatives
i.   Women, whether an individual or an organisation, may take the initiative in planning 
and action.  Particularly, they should proceed while taking part in the management of 
co-operatives on their own initiative.

ii. 	In farming villages, women have to strengthen their attitude to grapple with their 
immediate and urgent problems, such as equal opportunities for education, safe drinking 
water, upgrading of medical facilities, overcoming conventional contradictions and expansion 
of opportunities to obtain loans.

iii. It is essential, at first and foremost, for co-operatives to try to develop a 
mechanism for excavating and accumulating proper and effective field-cases initiated by 
women farmers in order to exchange views among themselves in a positive way domestically 
and internationally.

iv. 	It is necessary for co-operatives to appeal the governments of their respective 
countries so that this Resolution would be put into practice at the earliest date.