Kudumbashree, Kerala, India

As a consumer state, reliant on importing most produce from neighbouring states, Kerala’s agricultural sector is dominated by smallholders, with little commercial farming. Smallholder development is therefore at the forefront of the state government’s development strategies, as is reducing gender disparity. It is because of this focus that Kudumbashree was established.  Meaning ‘family prosperity’, Kudumbashree was set up by the Kerala State Poverty Eradication Mission (SPEM) in 1998 and now has five million members, covering more than half of the households in Kerala.  Agriculture is just one focus for the Kudumbashree mission: their holistic approach attempts to address all aspects of the poverty cycle. Kudumbashree relies heavily on their village and district structure to identify and understand the women’s needs. 

The field research was carried out with groups from the villages of Thirupuram, Perumkadavila, Kallior and Manikal.