FAO in Pakistan

Growing Hope

Under the Support for the Recovery of Agriculture Based Livelihoods of Vulnerable Farmers Affected by 2012 Floods of Sindh and Balochistan Provinces in Pakistan Project, FAO helps women expand their food supply and incomes

Sardara Ali Khan has been a sole bread winner for her family for nearly all her married life. Years ago, her husband was bitten by a poisonous snake and was partially paralyzed. Since then, Sardara has been earning living by working in the neighbors’ fields and doing household chores for them, as well as embroidering clothes.

Depending on the complexity of the embroidery, her neighbors paid from 100 to 1,000 Rupees (US$1-US$10) per item.  “Despite all my efforts, I rarely made more than 2,000 to 3,000 Rupees (US$20-US$30) a month,” says 38-year old Sardara. Even though her oldest son is already an adult, he hasn’t been able to find a job, and, along with his seven siblings, depends on Sardara’s earnings to survive.

Sardara is one of the 25 poor women in Balocho Dool Village of Kashmore District who work together in a communal kitchen garden, formed with FAO support, to grow vegetables. Together, the women grow a variety of vegetables on a one-acre plot of land the group has been provided by a neighbor.

FAO has provided the women with a mix of vegetable seeds, including bitter gourd, tomatoes, spinach and many other popular varieties. The project also facilitates regular learning sessions where the women share their knowledge and experiences in soil preparation, sowing, use of fertilizer, and other tips on vegetable gardening.  Just like most of her neighbors, Sardara also applies this knowledge to her own tiny vegetable garden she grows in her home.

“Now, my family is enjoying fresh vegetables, while I am able to sell some excess production and supplement our income,” says Sardara.

“I like eating potatoes, bitter gourd and okra that my mom grows,” says her five-year old son Abdul Latif, smiling with his toothless mouth from the doorway of the family’s house.