FORUM of RURAL WOMEN: Realism and Persistence in Standing up for Small Family Farms
The Forum was held in conjunction with the World Day of Rural Women. It became possible due to the efforts of the Movement of Rural Women of Russia Chairwoman, - Nadezhda Bezbud’ko and the AKKOR branch of the Tver Region.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture of Russia, Mr. Gromyko, AKKOR President, Vladimir Plotnikov and Honorary AKKOR President Vladimir Bashmachniukov sent special greeting messages to the Forum participants.
Fifty women from 12 regions of Russia took part in the event, as well as Ms. Svetlana Majksimova, member of the Russian Duma (Lower house of the Russian Parliament). Mr. A. Rodin, - Deputy Chair of the AKKOR Council, Chairperson of the Agrarian Party of Russia, - Olga Bashmachnikova and some local officials.
The main topic under consideration was further development of small family farms in rural areas. Most participants spoke in favor of producing ecologically safe produce that is in high demand right now. Many women raised an issue of family growth and the increase of the birth rate in rural areas. There is no doubt that small business is capable of becoming the foundation of social and economic growth of rural territories. If the policies are right and stimulating to the economic growth, then it would be possible to slow down the rate of small settlements disappearance and younger people moving to big cities for adequate pay for their work.
But economic growth will not happen on its own, - there are a lot of issues that need to be solved and a lot of administrative barriers dismantled, as the forum participants were pointing out.
Among major challenges is credit availability, receiving relief payments for the areas that were stuck by severe draught, the lack of state support to those who need it the most.
Another issue that was in the center of discussions was insufficiency of well trained professionals in rural areas due to the lack of suitable living conditions.
Svetlana Maksimova spoke about a unique role that women play in giving birth and raising the children which equals to saving the rural livelihood. But they do not limit their role to fulfilling household needs alone. Rural women are active participants in elections, they serve on different committees and in legislative and administrative bodies.
One of the major obstacles in successful development of small business and family farms is the twist in the existing policies to support macro farms by investing heavily into that sector of the economy and not in family farms development.
Mr. Rodin, - Deputy Chair of the AKKOR Council, assured the women-participants that the Forum resolution will be used to promote the ideas of rural development at the meeting of the Civic Chamber of Russia in mid-October’ 2015 devoted to the role of NGOs.
In general, the Forum of Rural Women of Russia was a successful event that supplied women with energy and desire to do even more for the growth of small family farms in the country.
With our best wishes to Iowa farmers,
Your AKKOR friends
Translated by V. Fominykh, Ph.D.