Amirthammal (India)


Recognition of women farmers


Amirtham aged 53 years, studied up to 8th standard, is from Sirunamalli village of Vellore district, Tamil Nadu.  She is a member of “Rural Women’s Liberation Movement” started a branch of the movement in her village.  They put up a board for the movement too.  Men in the village became hostile to the idea of women operating in public space and dismantled the board. Amirtham with other fellow women complained to the police and confronted the men and the men apologized and replaced the board for their movement.

She tried to take auction of tamarind trees at the Block Development office which was seen as very peculiar, because the community has not seen women taking auction of public resources.

Her engagement with the movement taught her about the ill effects of genetically modified seeds and the need to preserve traditional seeds. The “Farmer’s Movement” was started with many such women and Amirtham became the President of the movement.

She started planning for training on dissemination of natural farming practices.  She went to Philippines to share about these issues with other farmers’ movements.   She also learnt about equipping the farmers to develop their own varieties of rice seeds. She took part in the demonstration against Genetic Modification (GM) of rice varieties in front of “International Rice Research Institute “at Philippines. This exposure has strengthened her dedication to continue her struggle against GM, and she share about the methods of preserving traditional rice seeds, breeding rice, pollination etc. to other members of the movement.

She also attended a training program on “System of Rice Intensification “(SRI) and shared the same to fellow women farmers. She also took a lead in all the actions against conversion of agricultural lands into Real estate, Industrial Estate and housing plots.

She was able to seek justice for victims of violence. Her presence has made other women to come out to the leadership as a community. She believes in the mobilization of recognise women farmers, political participation and concerted effort would yield results for an issue. She believes that land rights for agriculture women are instrumental for women empowerment. She wants the implementing mechanisms for the “property rights of women” to be strengthened. She also asks for 5 acres of agricultural land for landless women agricultural labourers.