Accessing Her Rights.

“During the tour, I met with the women activists who run their own farms, which made me realize how important it is to know and use my land rights to be able to defend them."

Bibirajab Boymakhmadova, Tajik Farmer

The turning point came for Bibirajab when she participated in a USAID-funded study tour, organized by Chemonics’ Land Reform and Farm Restructuring Project. The tour, which took place in October 2014, sponsored 24 female farmers from Bibirajab’s impoverished Khatlon province to visit the Sughd region, where farm restructuring has been more successful. During the tour, the women visited a World Bank project to learn about the documentation process to create their own farms, and were introduced to new farming equipment. They also talked with local women about how to overcome barriers that many female farm owners face in Tajikistan, related to taxation, water supply, export production, and communicating with local authorities.

“During the tour, I met with the women activists who run their own farms, which made me realize how important it is to know and use my land rights to be able to defend them,” Bibirajab said.

24

female shareholders from Khirobon farm trained in land rights

23

new family and individual farms legalized

Once she returned from the study tour, Bibirajab shared her experiences with 36 other female shareholders from the same Khirobon farm. Using their new knowledge, the women went to the office of the USAID-supported project, where lawyers helped them complete necessary documents and file a court petition. On December 22, 2014, a regional court legalized 23 new family and individual farms.

Bibirajab continues to support other women in exercising their land rights, and has been chosen as a local activist within her village. Bibirajab’s success is both a step toward women’s equality, and also has the potential to increase food security. Farmers who manage their own farms are more likely to make long term investments in their plots, because they feel secure in their ownership of the land. This leads to increased agricultural productivity, which benefits the new female farm owners as well as Tajikistan’s food supply.