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September 2003

Announcement of a new publication

Extension through womens' community development groups: A case study of female extension assistants

Azad Jammu and Kashmir is located in the north of Pakistan. Male migration in the region has resulted in crop farming and livestock raising and management becoming increasingly women's domain. According to a senior administrator at Azad Jammu and Kashmir's Department of Agriculture, livestock care and management is entirely in the hands of women in almost 90 percent of households. Similarly, women's participation is significant in farming-related operations such as harvesting and the cleaning and storing of major crops (wheat, maize, fodder, etc.). In 85 percent of households, women are involved in sowing, weeding, transplanting and harvesting of vegetables for home consumption and sale; vegetables sales have become a source of income for some farm women.

Although there has been growing recognition of women's crucial role in the production, processing and preservation of food, planners have not included a women's component in most of their development programmes. There is a definite need for innovative change to the strategy and approach of extension programmes, in order to reach rural women who account for a large segment of poor rural communities. Since women's contribution to agricultural production has been significant and crucial over the past years, it is essential to shift from traditional male-dominated extension services to an integrated approach in which women become an important element within the scheme of extension programmes.

Click here to see the full publication (pdf format).

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