Stakeholders discuss shortcomings of Sindh Women Agricultural Workers Act

The Act envisages certain impractical points including 120-day maternity leave and fixed pay for women agricultural workers.

Organized by Research and Development Foundation, the Public Private Dialogue was participated by representatives of Sindh Rural Agriculture Support Organization, Sindh Chamber of Agriculture, Sindh Abadgar Board and Provincial Livestock and Fisheries Department.


Representatives of Sindh Rural Agriculture Support Organization, Sindh Chamber of Agriculture, Sindh Abadgar Board, Livestock and Fisheries department Sindh discussed the prospects for the enactment of the Sindh Women Agricultural Workers Act, 2019 and highlighted the challenges hindering the implementation in a public private dialogue organized by Research and Development Foundation (RDF) here at Mohatta Palace Museum, Karachi on Wednesday.

The Public Private Dialogue (PPD) on Sindh Women Agricultural Workers Act 2019 was held in collaboration with Mohatta Palace Museum and Sindh Indigenous and Traditional Crafts Company (SITCO) under the Growth for Rural Advancement and Sustainable Progress (GRASP) project funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by International Trade Centre (ITC).

Mr. Robert Skidmore, Chief of the Sector and Enterprise at ITC mentioned that women farmers are generally neglected on policy level but this Women Agricultural Act holds an important place in terms of promoting the rights of women agricultural workers. He stated GRASP is a best opportunity in this regard and added that GRASP is there for next 3 years and can provide support to the implementation of this act.

Agriculture-Women-Worker-Dialogue-Sindh-Courier-2Dr. Shireen Narejo, Technical Advisor at Sindh Rural Agriculture Support Organization highlighted the importance of Sustainable Development Goal No 8 which envisages the Decent Work and Economic Growth. She highlighted the irrelevant and impractical points included in the Act such as provision of 120 days maternity leave, whereas government policies mentioned only ninety days leave in their policies. She criticized that when there is no any law about fixed wages for males, how it can be considered for females only.

Dr. Shireen emphasized on the equality in laws for men and women and its regulation. Furthermore, she pointed out the irrelevant inclusion of Benazir Income Support program in the Act which is more concerned to the operations department instead of Act. She also highlighted that there is no proper directions mentioned about the rights of lactating women in the Act. She underlined the need to make gender sensitive and gender inclusive laws and making this agricultural women law workable.

Agriculture-Women-Worker-Dialogue-Sindh-Courier-4Nabi Bux Sathio, Vice President Sindh Chamber of Agriculture emphasized on the role of women in agriculture sector and said that climate change is a major indicator in the field of agriculture which adversely affects both, men and women agricultural workers. Hence, the Act should focus on technical advancement, which is also very crucial component to consider.

“Government should ensure the insurance of women agriculture workers so that their rights could be protected,” Nabi Bux Sathio urged.

Mahmood Nawaz Shah, Vice Chairman Sindh Abadgar Board regarded agriculture sector as an asset for the country which contributes 23% in GDP, where 75% agricultural workers are women. He raised critical point about lack of rights of agricultural women.

“Creation of law is a good step, it gives recognition but it is useless if not implemented properly,” Mahmood Nawaz Shah contended and underlined the need to authorize relevant departments to facilitate women to avail their rights. He suggested to include health related issues of women farmers and their child in the Act.

Mehboob ul Haq, Managing director of Sindh Enterprise development Fund (SEDF) mentioned the different grants provided to agricultural workers by their organization. “We aim to make sure to maximize the profits by collaborating with different organizations.”

Agriculture-Women-Worker-Dialogue-Sindh-Courier-3Aijaz Ahmed Mahesar, Secretary Livestock and Fisheries Sindh spoke on his expectation from GRASP to connect with the relevant bodies and get the Act reviewed to make it practical and workable. He also suggested having consultation directly with women farmers working on ground level and get their feedback and suggestions on the existing act.

Dr. Sahar Gul, Gender Advisor GRASP Sindh welcomed all the guests and introduced the GRASP project which is working in three areas – making gender sensitive policies, capacity building and strengthening the market linkages. She briefed about different chapters of the Sindh Women Agricultural Workers Act.

Participants suggested that Agriculture department should take responsibility of implementation of this Act. (PR)



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