Political Ethnography of Seed Saving Practices and Agroecological Farming: Exploring the Agency of Women Farmers


  • Pushpa Singh Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Miranda House, University of Delhi, Delhi-110007




Seed Saving Practices, Agroecological Farming, Women Farmers.


This article aims to capture the political ethnography of seed-saving practices in indigenous agriculture based on the field research carried out between 2017 and 2019 in some regions of India. The study depicts the indispensable value of native seed for marginal women farmers engaged in subsistence and agroecological farming. The role of saving and curating seed provides women a voice, the much-needed role, in otherwise highly patriarchal rural societal settings. Ownership and control of seeds give them agency and autonomy in farming. However, a new agricultural regime, marked by trade liberalisation and intellectual property infringements, restricted seed saving by farmers. These transformations have not only eroded women’s agency but have unprecedentedly altered the matrix of agriculture. Yet, marginal farmers are resilient in bypassing the adversities created by the politics and political economy of the contemporary global-agribusiness regime. This paper captures some of the initiatives that enable the reclamation of seed sovereignty and enhance food security, leading to the empowerment of farmers in the studied region.


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How to Cite

Singh, P. (2022). Political Ethnography of Seed Saving Practices and Agroecological Farming: Exploring the Agency of Women Farmers. Journal of Rural Development, 41(1), 36–49. https://doi.org/10.25175/jrd/2022/v41/i1/172461


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