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Forum global sur la sécurité alimentaire et la nutrition • Forum FSN

Re: Transforming gender relations in agriculture through women’s empowerment: benefits, challenges and trade-offs for improving nutrition outcomes

Mustafa Nangraj
Mustafa NangrajAgriculture Extension, Agriculture Departemnt Government of Sindh PakistanPakistan


Dr. Tehmina Mangan* Ghulam Mustafa Nangraj **

Rural females are least empowered segment of society. They work 16 -hour a day but their status is of unpaid family workers. They do not have professional and entrepreneurship capacity building and income earning opportunities that empower them. Gender norms dictate the role of women and their opportunities for type of work. The role that females are given restricts their time and mobility for schooling, training and women empowerment economic activities. Females have limited access to productive resources. Rural females are socially, physically, economically, politically and educationally deprived. These females cannot be empowered until they are capable to initiate and run their own entrepreneurships in their own circumstances within their villages without any contradiction or clashes with local customs.

In this situation ray of hope for the rural female empowerment is folded in the sound and sustainable economic activities for females in rural areas. For that purpose “Agriculture and Livestock Rural Female Entrepreneurship” is the best option and have full potential to be utilized. As rural females are already involved in agriculture and livestock activities just need is to convert those activities in entrepreneurship. In order to achieve this objective  professional capacity building of rural females regarding entrepreneurship economic activities are essential.

 A research study conducted by Dr. Tehmina Mangan and me (Ghulam Mustafa Nangraj) assessed status and potential of rural females and tested best options for their empowerment. For the assessment of status and potential of females survey was conducted in 8 districts of the Sindh. Study revealed that females of 89% of rural households of study area are involved in Agriculture and livestock activities but no regular agriculture and livestock entrepreneurship extension services are available for females. In this survey 86% female respondents informed that they need agriculture & livestock entrepreneurship extension services for building their capacity in agriculture and dairy value addition and marketing- cultivation of clean vegetable, fruits and ornamental plant nurseries and marketing on commercial basis- poultry farming- kitchen gardening- grain storage- livestock management- handicraft etc. They emphasized that they need services of female extension workers for capacity building for developing their own entrepreneurship and markets linkages establishment which help them to start their own business and earn direct income.

On the basis of results of this survey a Female Entrepreneurship Center (FEC) was established in Village Hot Khan Laghari, District Mirpurkhas Sindh Pakistan under Australia Pakistan Agriculture Sector Linkages Program, Social Research Project executed by Sindh Agriculture University Tandojam and ACIAR-University of Canberra Australia with team of Australian Professors Dr. John Spriggs, Dr. Sandra Heaney Mustafa and Dr. Barbara Chambers and Dr. Robert Fitzgerald. In that center product based groups of females such as; mango value addition group, dairy value addition group, vegetable and fruit nursery raising group etc. were formed and they were given professional entrepreneurship based training. After getting training they started their entrepreneurships. For the sale of their products market linkages were also developed with the help of Social Research Project. Along with that a Female Agriculture & Livestock Entrepreneurship Services (FA&LEES) Model was also developed and tested. Two females of village who were actively participating in Female Entrepreneurship Center (FEC) and Social Research Project’s activities were selected, trained and mobilized for providing extension services to other females. Female extension workers visited their own village households and neighboring villages and conduct entrepreneur extension service sessions of rural females. It was observed from results of Female Agriculture & Livestock Entrepreneurship Services (FA&LEES) Model that experience of female extension workers was very effective and successful to help village females to initiate their own entrepreneurships.

Significance of this model:

  1. This model can help government to utilize huge untapped  potential of human capital of rural female
  2. The model ensures entrepreneurship based capacity building of rural females rather than traditional crop based extension trainings
  3. It helps rural females to initiate their own businesses which provide them direct and personal income which will empower them
  4. The model have income earning opportunities for rural females within their villages this will resolve the issue of their restricted mobility
  5. Replication of this model can enhance contribution of rural females in increasing gross domestic productivity (GDP) and export of agriculture and dairy value added products of country

In order to replicate this model it is suggested that Government can initiate a policy to start “Female Agriculture & Livestock Entrepreneurship Extension Services (FA&LEES)” based on female entrepreneurship and empowerment approach through existing Agriculture Extension Services System.


*Associate Professor & Chairperson, Department of Agricultural Economics, Sindh Agriculture University Tandojam

**Assistant Publicity Officer, Agriculture Extension, Agriculture, Supply & Prices Government of Sindh