A glimpse at the lives of rural women: the story of Bakhriniso

Author: Otabek Eshmatov

October 15, 2022
Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan

International Rural Women's Day is observed globally on 15 October. It is an important date to promote gender equality and women's empowerment, reduce rural poverty and improve the social and economic status of women.

Rural women have a special role in society. They contribute to the development of agriculture, food security and, most importantly, the improvement of their family's welfare. More than 94 per cent of livestock production comes from private farms, where milk production is of particular importance.

Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan

Since the soil and climate conditions in the Ohangaron district of the Tashkent region are suitable for cattle breeding, the residents are mainly engaged in farming cattle and dairy production. As a result, the production of milk and meat in the region is increasing year by year.

Bakhriniso Nartaeva lives in the Ohangaron district. For 30 years now, she has been producing dairy products at her house. She says that a single cow helps to improve the welfare of a family of three or four people. Profits from dairy products enabled her to cover household expenses, take care of her children, and meet her daily needs.

"We bought my first cow with childcare money that had been paid for my youngest child. My husband went to the market and bought a pedigree cow. I had been going to the market to sell our cow's milk, which was left over from our family, and to buy groceries for home. My husband used his salary to build and renovate the house, and my cow helped support our family. Today, when my children have grown up and married, we have tripled the cow herd," says Bakhriniso Nartaeva.

Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan

Funded by the European Union, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Uzbekistan "Supporting an inclusive transition to a green economy in the agri-food sector and the development of a climate-smart knowledge and innovation system in agriculture in Uzbekistan (EU-AGRIN)" project by the Association of "Agrarian women" of Uzbekistan, on proper cow care in private farms, healthy breeding and increased productivity, and participation in a practical workshop aimed at organising cooperative milk processing inspired Bakhriniso to come up with new ideas. 

She now plans to unite the women of her village and start a dairy co-operative. "In the training, I improved my knowledge and skills on ways to increase the production and types of dairy products, organise co-operatives and increase villagers' income. I also got some useful tips on how to take care of livestock. I have now started to establish a rural women's cooperative," says Bakhriniso. The UNDP EU-AGRIN project is expected to provide practical support in organizing such cooperation in the Ohangaron region.

“It is difficult for many rural women to find a job close to home. It is even difficult to find a job in the city. Moreover, I don't want to leave my children and elderly parents alone for the whole day. Farm animals also require constant attention.” explains Bahriniso.

Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan

“In such cases, rural women can start their own businesses or organize collective cooperation to provide employment to rural women and improve their social status," said Bahriniso.