ISLAMABAD: Find­ings of a study carried out by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) confirms that women farmers in Pakistan are largely unrecognised for their vital contributions to the country’s agriculture sector, food security and the economy at large.

The study, “Protection issues faced by women farmers in Pakistan”, says their labour tends to be undocumented and they are rarely referred to as ‘farmers’, unlike their male counterparts. Current understanding of who is a ‘farmer’ tends to consider that these individuals own the land they work on. However, this excludes huge numbers of farmers in Pakistan — particularly women — which prevents them from accessing vital benefits and services.

In terms of work-related challenges, women farmers participating in the survey highlighted heavy workloads of bet­ween 12 and 18 hours per day, a lack of access to independent agricultural production (in terms of access to land, credit, water and technology), a lack of agriculture-related technical education and training opportunities, and limited access to advisory services.

Other challenges include the lack of a minimum wage and collective bargaining in the agriculture sector, as well as delayed payments by contractors.

Published in Dawn, February 25th, 2024

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