Front Cover
 Title Page
 Annex 1
 Annex 2

Group Title: Conference on Gender Issues in Farming Systems Research and Extenion, University of Florida, February 26 to March 1, 1986
Title: Policy on the role of peasant women in agrarian development
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00081714/00001
 Material Information
Title: Policy on the role of peasant women in agrarian development
Series Title: Conference on Gender Issues in Farming Systems Research and Extenion, University of Florida, February 26 to March 1, 1986
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Republic of Colombia. National Planning Department.
Publisher: University of Florida
Publication Date: 1986
Subject: Caribbean   ( lcsh )
Spatial Coverage: South America -- Colombia -- Caribbean
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00081714
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Title Page
        Title Page
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
    Annex 1
        Page 19
    Annex 2
        Page 20
Full Text

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Conference on

Program de Desarrollo Rural Integrado Plan do Allmentacl6n y Nutrlcl6n




National Council For
Economic and Social Policy

Progrma de D E~Oalo Rur6a In tegrdo Plan oe Allmentaci6n y Nutrcl6n



One of the most relevant facts in the process of social and economic

change thaf the Colombian agrarian sector is undergoing 'is that of the massive

incorporation of peasant women to productive labour. This phenomenon has

reached levels such that in spite of traditional statistical underestimation of

this type of labour, the rates of women's participation in the rural work force

in 1980 have come-very close to urban ones. Peasant women's work has been

located basically in the most traditional categories that can be assimilated to

peasant farming.

In Colombia, peasant economy contributes with sixty per cent of the total

supply of foodstuffs and forty percent of the total volume of agricultural raw

materials. This has been an historically unstable supply and in the last decade

it has, in a significant proportion, explained increases in the consumer price

index. Therefore, in order to reactivate the agrarian sector and guarantee an

adequate food supply, priority concerns of this Government, the traditional

agrarian sector constitutes a fundamental pillar.

Parallel with economic transformation, the social reality of rural women

and family has undergone rapid change which expresses itself in vertical decrea-

Prograrna de Dese9*.-tic aural integraJo Plain O Alimentaclon y Nutrcl5n


sesin fertility, migration of young women, reduction in family size and con-

solidation of .the nuclear family, postergation of marital union and a better

educational level in rural women.

The determinant role performed by women in peasant economy and speci-

fically in traditional food production is thus clearly established. However,

when.implementation of agrarian policy instruments is examined, recent research

reveals that neither credit, technical assistance, training, among others,

recognize women as a productive agent. In general terms, it can be asserted

that the State only perceives peasant women as a recipient of social programmes,

understood as those implying activities pertaining to the household. -

It is necessary that the State explicitly acknowledge the new role peasant

women are performing in the rural economy. This recognition must be put into

effect by/adjusting agrarian policy instruments so as to increase efficiency of

women's labour, as well as by redifining social programmes in accordance to the

present conditions of the rural family.

Policy for peasant women, submitted to the National Council for Eco-

nomic and Social Policy is defined as a re-orientation of the principles

directing State action in the rural sector. Its intersectorial nature, which'goes

beyond the competence of the Ministry of Agriculture, and, above all,

resistance on part of State agencies to 'accept changes in the situation of

Piograma de De arrt;v ..ur8a: Itlegrado Plan Cd. AIlmentacl6n y Nutrilcin


their target populations, requires a general policy framework. That is

precisely the purpose of this document.


1. Women in Agrarian Production.

During the 1970's women's participation in agrarian production increased

in a substantial way, while men's rates of participation varied slightly (1).

It has been estimated that for 1980 there were 755.000 economically

active women in the rural sector, 63% of whom (almost 450.000) worked

directly in small production units. The main features of rural women's

participation are:

a. The overall rural women's participation rate increased from 16.5%

in 1971 to 27.7% in 1980 (2), coming very close to urban rates,

indicating important social and economic modifications in the


b. Increases in women's economic participation were chanelled towards

the most backward occupational categories and by no means did they

(1) Increases in women's overall participation rate must still be affected by
traditional sub-registration of women's productive labour in the country, as
well as by underestimation of their economic contribution.

(2) DANE. National Household Survey 1971-1980. Stages 4 and 27.

Prograrne de Deaer-olk' Rurdl Integraoo Plan d.- Ahmentaclbn y Nutrlcl6n


respond to an increase in employment opportunities in the modem

sector. In effect, while the proportion of male salaried workers

within the total of male workers has been steady around 45%, the

percentage of salaried women decreases from 36.6% in 1971 to 28.0%

in 1980. On the contrary, women classified as "family helpers

without remuneration" increase their participation from 12.2% to

31.9% during the same period. At the same time, "independent

female workers" represent 38.4%, which, when added to the previous

category, both account for 70% of women working in the rural .

sector (1). It can be established then, that women are making an

important contribution in terms of work to the head of the household

of the .small productive parcel, be it by means of non-

salaried help or by substituting the male worker, increasing .ly dis-

placed towards salaried forms. Their contribution is also represented

in the growing responsibility they have been directly and independently

assuming in producing a significant share of farm-produce in their

land- parcels. *

c. Rural women are increasingly combining their roles as mothers and

workers, thus considerably extending their work-load.

(1) DANE, National Household Survey, Stages No. 4 and 27.

Programe do Debarrr.-lio ure-l Integrado Plan o- Allmentaclsn y Nutriclon


d. The percentage of women in the lowest income range is higher than

those of rural men and urban women.

According to occupational position, in every activity, women are

grouped in the most traditional occupations.

In brief, there is no evidenceof modernisation of female rural

employment nor of a transformation of a significant number of women

into salaried workers. There has been a growing articulation of

women to productive labour, while at the same time an unbalanced

division of labour between men and women is perpetuated, confining

women to the most backward and socially invisible activities.

2. New Sociodemographic Profiles.

Between 1968 and 1980, the average number of children per rural woman

decreased from 9.2 to 5.1, a reduction in fertility higher than that

registered in cities during the same period (1). Family size has fallen

(1) There are still regional differences. Averages in the Central Region are
lower than those in the Pacific Coast.
Source: Ordonez, Myriam: An6lisis de de la Situaci6n de la Muier Cam-
pesina- CaracterTsticas Demogr6ficas de la Poblaci6n Rural. Universidad
Javeriana, F.E.I.

I--oc"-.rn do Dt;'r.lluo ;rjraI Inte rado Plan o Allmentacion y Nutriclon


to average similar to urban ones, nuclear structure being predominant

in families.

Correlatively, age of entrance to the marriage market has been

postponed, while separations and. households whose only members are

mother and children (15.3% in 1978) have increased (1).

A high percentage of rural families is constituted by common law

marriages and land property is usually bestowed to the male household

head. The resulting situation is one in which peasant women lack

protection of their land-rights in case the couple breaks up.

Although young women (ages 15-19) have lower illiteracy rates than

men in the same age group, in general terms, women still have lower

educational levels than men (2).

3. State Action.

The following features have characterized State action in relation to the

situation of peasant women.

a. In rural development programmes where the explicitly stated objective

is that of improving family living standards, a rigid conception as to

(1) DANE. National Hosehold Survey. 1978.
(2) According to data compiled by DANE, in Household Survey No. 27, the rural
female illiteracy rate in 1980 was 39.5% while the rural male rate was 37%.

Program Ce D-s".ro!'o ?ij-6!i Integredo Plan V', Ali.rrentacl6r y Nuttrcl6n


the type of actions that are carried out, has been predominant.

According to it, productive actions ore to be implemented with the

male population while social and domestic ones are meant for the

female population. Such conception is clearly contradictory with

the evident participation of women in the productive sphere and it

becomes an obstacle for women's contribution to agrarian development.

b. During the past years, there have appeared programmes specifically

designed to organize women in-income generating projects and improve

their status and living standards. These experiences, from which those

implemented by the National Federation of Coffee Growers and the

Colombian Agrarian Institute ( ICA) with support from UNICEF must

be mentioned, are still very disperse and limited as to the population

they cover. Furthermore, these programmes lack a general policy

framework that would foster interinstitutional coordination and

effectively extend their services

Although the Development Plan Change with Equity, does not specifically

address, this issue, it does contain the main directives needed to launch new

programmes with an integrated approach regarding rural women.

Among them the following are of special interest:

In the first place, to the extent that the general objective is that of

Program do Dosarrollo hural Integrado Plan de Allmentacl6n y Nutrici6n


increasing the country's food production capacity and that a significant

part of these are produced by women, improvement of women's productive

capacity is an essential condition for achieving this aim.

Secondly, social policy gives special important to "women's promotion,

sponsoring processes of integration to productive life". This purpose must

be achieved in rural areas where women's economic and cultural

marginality is greater than in the urban sector.

Third, because in the struggle against unemployment and un-dermployment,

encouragement to women's production in the traditional sector of rural

economy plays a significant role in increasing jobs.

Finally, because programmes aimed at rural women, who are the less

protected group within the peasant population, offer a way through

which rural development services can be extended and reach more

vulnerable groups.

In summary, achievement of economic growth and social benefit are the

pillars of the policy defined as follows.


The general purpose of this policy is to modify the conditions in which

Program de Desorronlo Rural Integrado Plan de AllmentaclOr. y Nutriclbn


peasant women's present economic and social participation takes place, in order

to insure greater efficiency in their productive activities, increasing the supply

of food and improving their standard of living and that of their families. In

more specific terms, this requires :

a. Guaranteeing rural women access to the instruments of productive

labour, such as land, credit, technical assistance and training.

b. Insuring their participation in productive projects which will contribute

to generate employment and income, and improve the nutritional

situation of the family.

c. Encouraging their participation in community organizations, as well as

in the cultural and political life of the nation.

d. Improving the conditions in which domestic work is done and promoting

a change of attitudes which will facilitate a more egalitarian

distribution of work between the sexes, overcoming traditional forms.

e. Improving rural women's educational levels.

The target population for this policy in general, are women living in rural

areas who are potential beneficiaries of State services and in particular, peasant

women producing in parcels under 20 hectares participating in productive

Program de Deaarrlilo Rural Integrado Plan de AIImentac6rn y Nutrucl6n


projects sponsored by it.


Achievement of these objectives will be pursued by means of the

following strategies:

a. Adjusting present instruments of agrarian policy (agrarian legislation,

credit, training, technical assistance, research) to this recently

researched reality and possible development trends it implies, insuring

they reach the female population involved in food production.

b. Intensifying social actions that will provide rural women more

favorable and egalitarian conditions in which to carry out their

functions as producers and domestic workers. This implies adjusting

some social programmes to this policy's objectives.

To insure that these strategies reach the local level and that rural

women in effect have indiscriminate access to state services, specific

projects fr women will be implemented aimed at generating more

income, employment and food production.


In terms of adjustments of the instruments of agrarian policy:

Programs de Desarrollo Rural Integrsdo Plan de Allmentac bn y NutrciOn


1. Land.

INCORA (Agrarian Reform Institute) and the Ministry of Agriculture

shall revise existing legislation concerning procedures for granting

and entitling land. Within a two month period a legislative proposal

modifying norms facilitating access to land to female household heads

must be presented. Provisions shall be made to the effect that land

titles include both husband and wife, thus eliminating the frequent

dispossession of women and children.

Modification of family law (Legal Resolution 115 of January 27th

1984) is also recommended.

2. Credit.

Caja Agraria (Agrarian Bank) shall strengthen credit for rural women

increasing the amount of individual loans, eliminating the husband's

signature as requisite for granting loans and adjusting guarantees to

the female producer's re-payment capacities and working conditions.

Likewise, in order to prevent underutilisation of this programme, Caja

Agraria in coordination with DRI (Integrated Rural Development) and

INCORA shall promote this credit line among women producers

participating in income generating projects fostered by this policy.

DRI shall modify norms regulating credit for its beneficiaries (Circular

Prograrne de D De'srrllcr' Rur! Irtepredo Plan de Allrrnentacl6n y NutuclOn


Reglamentaria No. 62, 1983) as follows: women shall have access

to credit independently to that already granted to their husbands or

fathers, women are to be personally and exclusively responsible for

their loans and commercial morality is to be determined independently

of the husband.

The Ministry of Agriculture and the National Planning Department

shall channel technical cooperation resources in order to establish

soft credit funds which will be used to finance productive projects

in the poorer regions.

3. Technical Assistance.

ICA, INCORA, Federation of Coffe Growers and all other agencies

involving technical assistance services shall develop actions,

according to their functions, related to generation and transfer of

technology that will increase productivity in activities where women

concentrate their work (animal care, vegetable gardens, crafts) and

which are central to family subsistence.

Income increments are to be geared towards improvements in nutrition

housing and environment.

The above mentioned agencies shall adjust their operational methodologies

Program de Deo6ero! -:iur:! integrado Plan Ut Ahnilentaclkn y Nutnclon


(time -schedules, meetings) to the conditions in which rural women

perform their tasks. This requires that rural extension agents receive

training regarding rural women's problematic.

4. Marketing.

To insure adequate marketing for their products women's groups shall

participate in the new marketing strategy coordinated by the DRI-PAN

Programme and cooperative organizations will be promoted. Special

attention will be given to participation ofpeasant-products in urban

markets, as well as to the price information system. SENA (National

Training Service), FINANCIACOOP (Cooperative Financial Institute),

IDEMA (Institute for Agricultural Marketing) and CECORA (Agrarian

Reform Cooperatives) shall sponsor these activities.

5. Training.

SENA shall extend its training programmes for peasants so that at

least one third of the leaders trained are women. It will also work

with women's groups identifying development projects. Likewise, it

will produce training material, the contents of which will be issues

concerning rural women's conditions. This material will be used in

training courses attended by peasant leaders. ICA,. FEDECAFE, IN-

CORA and the Ministry of Agriculture will also use it for its

Progrerna de Du rsr.io Rural Integrado Plan do AlimentaclOn y Nutncl6n


organisational and entrepreneurial training activities with peasant


ICETEX, ICA, DRI and other agencies which control funds for training

and specialisation of human resources in the agrarian sector shall

give priority to training of civil servants who can advance implementation

of this policy and become multiplier agents within the institutions

responsible for its development.

Development of Social Policy Instruments:

1. Education and Research.

Priority shall be given to literacy campaings for peasant women

to be carried out in the Pacific Region as well as in departments

of the Atlantic Coast, where illiteracy rates.are above 50% (1).

They will be backed by primary and secondary education programmes.

The relevance of this action responds to

the need of elevating the educational level of rural women so

S they will have a better capacity to assimilate training and

(1) According to NHS stage 27 of 1980, the female illiteracy rate in the Atlantic
Region is 55.8% while the National Rural average is 39.5%.

Prograrn de Desarrolic rural Integrado Plan de Allmentaci6n y Nutrlcl6n


transference that agencies will import.

CAMINA will sponsor production of educational material to be

wdely broadcasted concerning rural -women's issues and the

contents of this policy.

The Ministry of Education through the Curriculum and Educational

Programme will adjust educational contents so as to valorice

women's work both in the productive and domestic spheres.

DANE (National Statistics Departament) shall introduce adjustmen-s

in the definition of indicators and in data-collecting instruments t

that will improve information on women's participation in the

productive sphere. Likewise, COLCIENCIAS will channel resources

towards research on rural women's problematic.

2. Housing Improvement.


(National Territories Bureau) shall offer appropriate technology

for improving conditions of rural housing in matters such as:

potable water, waste disposals, improvement of cooking utensils,

floor construction and favourable credit conditions to insure their

adoption. This action is part of the Rural Housing Plan that is

being designed in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture.

Program de Desarrollo Rural Integrado Plan de Allmentacl6n y Nutricl6n


3. Peasant Organization.

SENA, DIGIDEC and the Division of Peasani Organization of the

Ministry of Agriculture shall promote organization of rural women

as an indispensable condition for production and marketing


As. part of this process, the Ministry of Agriculture will carry out

a National assembly of peasant women where this policy will be

studied and debated and mechanisms for direct participation of

women in implementing this policy will be designed.

4. Nutrition.

ICA and ICBF shall adjust their educational activities concerning

nutrition so they will make use of food produced by women.

The effect of increased food production undertaken by women on

the nutritional standards of families shall be taken into account

as one of the social profit indicators of the productive projects

sponsored by this policy.


1. The National Council for Social and Economic Policy CONPES is advice

to approve the Policy on the Role of Peasant Women in Agrarian Development

Prugtarna de Desarroltto Rural Inte;rado Plan ie AlrmentaclOn y Nutricln


coordinated by the Unit of Social Development of the Ministry of Agriculture

in order to insure a greater commitment of the agencies specialized in

adjusting different instruments of agrarian policy for implementation of the

proposed strategies.

2. It is recommended to the Minisrries of Education and Health a .revision of'

programmes aimed at rural families, adjusting them to the increases in

women's economic participation and changes operated in the family

structure. -

3. It is recommended to the National Planning Department that it include

development programmes for rural women as a priority for technical

cooperation in the rural sector and that it identify new financial sources

for implementation of this policy. These resources shall be invested

according to the objectives and strategies above mentioned.

4. The Ministry of Agriculture should be authorized to present in the Congress

of the Republic a legislative proposal modifying those agrarian norms.

regulating land tenure and use which explicitly or implicitly jeopardize

peasant women's rights.

To complement, precise instructions will be imparted and promotional and

educational activities will be carried out with civil servants and peasants

geared to change attitudes and application of the law.

Progrerna ce DeCwr-i:-; t'Ju3i Inteoradio Pirn .< A4lententacln y NUcrlUiln


5. Ask FONADE to channel resources for feasibility studies related to production,

marketing and processing projects managed by women, in response to

demands from ICA, INCORA, FEDECAFE, DRI and other agencies involved

in implementation of this policy.

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