Women’s Empowerment at the Frontline of Adaptation
4. The decrease in agricultural production and increase in demands on women’s time have negatively affected women-owned or managed agro-enterprises. An increasing number of rural women are either supporting, or are themselves owners of, medium, small, and micro-enterprises, particularly in parts of the Terai and hills that are close to market centres. This is due in part to a number of successful agricultural and natural resource management-based interventions. Rural women are engaged in a wide range of enterprises such as vegetable and cereal seed production, making leaf plates, production of essential oils, and cultivation of cash crops. Experience in setting up these enterprises and the income earned have played a large role in increasing women’s self-confidence and empowering them. However, decreases in agricultural production, limited technical support and safety nets, and the inability of women to devote time to managing their enterprises is de-accelerating this process and affecting the process of women’s empowerment. For example, Apsara Kafle, a women entrepreneur from Sarlahi, said that her bamboo product enterprise was doing well and that she was making good income from the sale of bamboo baskets used for packing fruits and vegetables. However, she had to discontinue her business because of the scarcity of the raw materials and increasing workload at home. She said that she does not have extra time to attend skill-related training courses and misses out on receiving timely information about enterprise-related resources and opportunities.
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