Sindh Agriculture Minister Muhammad Ismail Rahoo on Wednesday assured on behalf of Sindh Assembly to pass the ‘Sindh water management amendment bill’, pending in the provincial assembly for long time.
He also assured to make efforts to implement the same law with its true spirit.The minister was speaking at the launching ceremony of a project ‘Rural Women’s Economic Empowerment through Agriculture, Livestock and Water Resources Management’ being implemented by Strengthening Participatory Organization (SPO) in three districts Badin, Tando Muhammad Khan and Hyderabad.
Rahoo said the bill was ready and presented at the forums but it has not been passed timely. After this the Covid 19 pandemic has shaken the world and the working disturbed all around. But he assured to take up the specific law to secure empowering rural women. The rural farmer women should have representation at all levels, he said.Rahoo realized that fact that ‘women empowerment and ending gender inequality’ is the big agenda in the society.
“There is double standard in terms of exploitation of women at all levels, starting from peasant women to prime minister”.“You might have observed that women as a prime minister is not acceptable in the society,” he said, adding that “it is impossible to develop the society without participation of women”.
He said non-government organizations (NGOs) and other forums always take this agenda at different platforms to empower women and end inequality of gender. But the voice is not being heard at major forums to discuss and find solution.
The minister said in many cases legislation come to being formally after years but there is problem of setting rules of business of the same law.
Therefore, the acceptance of these laws in the society is another issue, which we have to take at our forums.The event attracted representatives of community farmer women, Sindh Irrigation and Drainage Authority (SIDA), officials of agriculture, livestock and civil society organizations. Qaisar Bengali, a renowned economist in his speech proposed that there should be separate elections just after the general elections where women can vote directly to their candidates.
It is only way out to empower the women. In fact, it is dream but should initiate the idea for change.Sharing his experience, Bengali said when they were launching Benazir Bhutto Income Support Programme (BBISP) in 2008 they got data from NADRA which showed that the women beneficiaries did not have computerized national identity cards (CNICs) in many districts of the country.
He said we initiated a campaign to provide CNICs to 13 million women in different parts of Pakistan.He said if we want to see the women empowerment in real sense the idea of separate election is only way out to allow women to vote their own candidates with their free will.
He said they had observed that women received amount under the BBISP their males deprived them of this amount.Suleman G Abro, President Safwco said agriculture is backbone of the country’s economy but farmer community has been neglected.
Despite the fact it contributes more in export of agriculture products, the farmers and contributors in agriculture and livestock sectors are facing hardships.
He said the recent rain has also affected agriculture farmers and government should address their issues with compensation for their losses.
He said women in rural areas, involved in milking and selling must be promoted with linkage mechanism with markets so they may have chilling technology to save their product and earn enough.
Like this, women may be facilitated in technology for entrepreneurship.In the starting, SPO programme specialist on agriculture Abdul Ghafoor Rahoo said they are working with small scale farmers, having up to five-acre land, specially focusing on working women.He said at the time of need assessment they have observed that mostly women farmers did not know their CNICs have expired.
In this situation they were not eligible to get any facility, including loan to improve their working.Mamoona Subuhpoto, specialist in livestock sector said women are involved in livestock management, feeding, milking and collecting fodder.
These women manage sheds of livestock; they know the remedy of diseases in animals. But they do not have direct access to cattle markets to sale and purchase their animals.
Besides this, she said these women sale milk product to middlemen and do not get proper rates. They need to get knowledge to have better breeds of animals to get more milk productivity to earn enough.Pirbhu Satyani, Regional Head SPO, shared intervention and said that they have started working with rural women in three districts, including Hyderabad, Tando Muhammad Khan and Badin.
The aim was to provide technical support to women agriculture and livestock farmers in order to empower them in their specific fields.He pointed out that the role of women in water resources management was missing.
They must be included in water bodies like area water boards and watercourses associations so they may share their opinion for equal distribution of water for agriculture purposes.
He said hundreds of women will be encouraged to play role in watercourses associations at all levels. He said specifically Bagri community women, who produce vegetables and sale the same in streets but they do not have access to run their business at proper markets.
These families will be supported to work in agriculture, livestock and entrepreneurship.Tanzeela Ume Habiba, PPP- MPA, Nuzhat Shirin Chairperson Sindh Commission on status of women, Mustafa Nagraj in-charge communication and technology agriculture extension, Parvez Babhan of SIDA, also spoke on the occasion.