Kolkata:  Global beverage major PepsiCo and US Agency for International Development (USAID) have awarded six women farmers of West Bengal for breaking gender stereotypes and implementing best practices in farming.

The awards, a part of a programme for women farmers’ economic empowerment, were presented by Melinda Pavek, Consul General, US Consulate General, Kolkata, and Ronald Verdonk, Counselor for Agricultural Affairs, US Embassy, officials said.

Shamima Begum and Anwara Begum from West Bengal’s Hooghly district, and Sujata Pramanik, Manisha Alu, Tapasi Pal and Anita Singh from Bankura district received awards for breaking gender stereotypes by learning and implementing best practices related to collaborative potato farming, professionalising their work as farmers, PepsiCo said in a statement on Thursday.

It said that under the programme, more than 1,000 women have been trained in potato agronomy and sustainable farming practices, with a goal of reaching 500 additional women farmers in 2022, which eventually will be impacting over 3,00,000 women in West Bengal through community engagement initiatives.

Advancing gender equity is fundamental to every individual’s economic security and well-being. The opportunity to meet and learn about the tremendous achievements of women farmers in West Bengal is inspiring. These leaders have truly set a powerful example for others in their communities to emulate, Pavek said.

PepsiCo procures around 70 per cent of its total potato requirement for food processing from nearly 27,000 farmers in West Bengal, company officials said.

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