SUPPORT FOR WOMEN FARMERS
Women play a significant role in agriculture, producing more than 50% of the world’s food (FAO, 2011) and comprising about 43% of the agricultural labor force in developing countries (Doss, 2014).
Despite the fact that women produce much of the food in the developing world, they also remain more malnourished compared to men. In many rural societies, women eat less food than men do, especially when food is scarce, such as just before the harvest.
In Chevanda, Faisalabad, Pakistan, women work with men in all aspects of protected cultivation of vegetables—sowing, tunnel management, intercropping, hoeing, harvesting, grading and packing. The World Vegetable Center, through the Agricultural Innovation Program (AIP) funded by USAID, provides training specifically for women farmers on crop production, protection and marketing, as well as occupational health hazards.
“I work happily knowing I will be getting out of poverty by doing what I am doing,” said Kalsoom Bibi, a female farm worker at Chevanda. “The dream is to finish the house I am building out of brick stones, to sleep in a comfortable place, to raise the standard of living for my children, grandchildren and send them all to school.”
Although women do half the work in agriculture, elder men, for the most part, still own the land, control women’s labor, and make agricultural decisions in patriarchal social systems. Empowering women will continue to improve Pakistan’s vegetable sector.