Till early 1990s, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) used to organise a one-day Farmer Women’s Fair at different locations in Punjab to promote women farming and entrepreneurs. The festival would celebrate the power of women in field of agriculture with exclusive presentations, competitions for women farmers.
However, with passage of time while the number of kisan melas being organised by varsity increased from eight to 16 in a year, the only women’s fair was scrapped.
Talking to Newsline, Sarjit Singh Gill, who worked as director extension education department of PAU till 2006, said, “It is hard to remember when the last farmer women’s fair was held but as far as I remember it was before 1994. It used to be an exclusive event with flood of activities for women. We organised it at various places like Kapurthala, Moga, Muktsar and other stations.
However, it’s sad that it was discontinued due to paucity of funds and staff shortage.” Now, kisan melas are also held at Faridkot, Tarn Taran, Bathinda along with Patiala, Gurdaspur, Ballowal, PAU campus in Ludhiana and that too twice a year.
Singh added that activities such as embroidery, cooking, healthy baby show, candle-making, crop produce competitions, salad making and various events were organised exclusively for women.Gurjit Kaur, a woman farmer from Nihal Singh Wala said, “We talk of women empowerment now but for PAU it was a tradition. It is surprising that instead of increasing women melas, they have been scrapped.”
Jagir Kaur, another woman farmer who visited PAU mela on Saturday said, “Of the 16 melas, if only two days are dedicated to women fairs, it would be great.”
On Saturday, the College of Home Sciences organised competitions such as crochet making, vegetables cutting, story writing and low cost nutritional recipes for women at PAU kisan mela.