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

Tehmina Mangan
Tehmina ManganSindh Agriculture University TandojamPakistan

Females and children of rural Pakistan are mostly malnourished due to many reasons some areas under:

1.      Poverty

2.      Low literacy rate

3.      Lack of availability of nutritious food

4.      Lack of knowledge about nutrition

5.      Poor cropping patterns related to balanced nutrition

6.      Male dominant social setup

Historically in Sindh it is observed that most people used to rear animals to get milk and butter for home use only and they feel that it is not good to sell milk or butter for earning money because they feel that these are very sacred things therefore these should not be sold for the sake of money and they prefer to use it at home and give to other people as gifts or free of cost. Along with that they used to cultivate different types of vegetables and pulses with other crops and used those vegetables and pulses to fulfil their family nutritious food requirements. As milk, butter and other poultry products and fresh vegetables, pulses etc. were highly nutritious therefore people in past were enjoying a healthy life.

But nowadays situation is totally different. Mostly they are selling total milk of their animals and not preparing butter. Due to increased population, fragmentation of natural resources and enhanced poverty people are helpless to sell these nutritious foods and as a result they face issues of malnutrition.

On the other hand, rural community has changed cropping patterns. They emphasize on commercial crops and cultivate mainly four major crops such as wheat, rice, cotton and sugarcane but they are not cultivating vegetables and pulses for their home use. This situation leads to poor nutrition issues for all family members especially females and children who suffer more.

These situations need long term policy initiatives. We (Dr. Tehmina and Mr. Mustafa) have developed a model “Female Agriculture and Livestock Entrepreneurship Services” for the empowerment of females of rural areas. Results of this research model were very successful and sustainable and suggest that Rural Female Empowerment can ensure successful solutions of all problems (including malnutrition) of rural females their children and families. Based on those results it is suggested that FAO and other donors can select some areas for piloting  and  Female Entrepreneurship Centres (FECs) can be established and can be linked with other organizations for successful and sustainable results.