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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 1132: XVIII International Symposium on Horticultural Economics and Management

The positive impacts on Turkish women farmers of an all-female agriculture and business management training pilot program

Authors:   R.G. Brumfield, B. Özkan, J. Carleo
Keywords:   business management, best management practices, business plan, empowering women, female farmers
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2016.1132.11
Abstract:
In 2011, Drs. Robin Brumfield and Burhan Özkan, co-founded SuzanneRSQUOs Project in Turkey to empower Turkish women by providing them with the necessary tools and resources to scale and sustain profitable agricultural businesses. Forty-five percent of TurkeyRSQUOs female work-force are farmers who serve a vital role in the regionRSQUOs economic advancement toward sustainable agriculture, gender equality and food security. To empower the women through education the program provided training in business planning and management and also included computer literacy, alternative production systems, soil productivity, plant nutrition, and other best management practices training. The courses resulted in 100% of the women completing most sections of an agricultural business plan by the end of the course using guided worksheets. A survey of women who participated in SuzanneRSQUOs Project 1.5 years after they took the course indicated that it had lasting, positive effects on them. The investigators conducted face-to-face interviews of participants in the pilot program. Follow-up survey questions explored changes in personal empowerment, program impacts on their business, inter-personal networking, and suggestions for changing/improving the course. All of the women felt more personally empowered after taking the course as exemplified by the statement “before, I was only the woman and wife, but now I am a business woman”. One woman commented that she had more respect from her husband after taking the course. The biggest changes in their businesses after the course were an increase in sustainable production practices and beginning to keep records for cost accounting, including knowing what records to keep and why. 100% of participants were eager to share what they had learned with other women and with their husbands. Participants expressed an interest in taking more courses, especially on cost accounting. They would like similar courses to be offered to their husbands, but they appreciated the “women only” setting for their classes.

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