Pakistan is an agricultural country. Its economy is based on agriculture that contributes about 25 % to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Agriculture is the main sector of employment where total employed labor force is 44.8 %. Males involved in labor force in agricultural sector are 38.4% and women labor force is 69.9% which is highest as compared to other sectors. Almost 65.9 % of Pakistan’s population is living in rural areas that are directly and indirectly rely on agriculture for their livelihood. It is generally accepted that over 50% of the world’s population is women and their participation is indispensable to address the imperative issues of new era. In this regard, they also face a lot of challenges. Women in Pakistan has no exception in this context, women in the rural areas of Pakistan are facing a number of challenges ranging from lack of access to education and resources, property rights, skill development to gender discrimination in the labor markets.
Therefore this assignment is planned with the objectives:
• To analyze the factor influencing women participation in agriculture activities.
• To determine the involvement and decision making power of the rural women in the agricultural activities
• to identify various problems faced by women in performing agriculture activities. Activity:
In order to measure the given objectives, you are supposed to visit any nearest village and perform the following activity by asking questions from 3 women participating in agriculture sector:
1. What kind of activities you perform usually in agriculture (production, harvesting, supporting activity (which type of support) or any other) 2. How do you participate in agricultural activities (directly or indirectly, probe to get details)?
3. Do you think that your efforts are properly recognized by your house members and people around? (Ask in details)
4. Highlight various problems which you may face in performing agriculture activities in your area (need a women perspective).
After getting the required information, you are supposed to prepare a report consist of:
• Introduction (village name, number of women interviewed, age of women, activities they performed in agriculture sector) (4)
• Questions analysis (15)
• Conclusion and recommendation (6)
My entire maternal family lives in a village “Chak” 290 GB, Rijanna near Tauba Teik SIngh.SO I went there and enquired women about the assignment. The land here mostly is cultivatable. The economy of the area usually depends on agriculture. When I went there I saw few women in the fields helping men in watering the seeded crop. The people there were very supportive and they gave me freedom to ask questions from there women very easily. In fact, they were very happy and showed so much of the hospitality as well. I gathered around 7 women ready to answer my questions but 4 of them were even unable to understand URDU and it was tough hard for me to communicate in Punjabi at least. I interviewed three lovely women there namely Zubaida Aunty, Sofia aunty and Shahida aunty aging 32, 28 and 35 respectively. All these women do the household work as well as support their husbands in fields. I probed them in detail about all the activities which the answered very generously and fairly. The detailed analysis of the questions and their answers is given below. Question analysis:
I asked all the questions separately from them and I shall write them in their language. Answers of Zubaida:
Me: What kind of activities you perform usually in agriculture (production, harvesting, supporting activity (which type of support) or any other)? Zubaida: I help in sowing the seed of the season and harvesting season as well. I perform all the house hold as well. I prepare meals and take them to the fields. I run my own cottage industry at home. We weave cloths ourselves. Clean up the cotton and wheat. Me: How do you participate in agricultural activities?
Zubaida: At times it is indirectly and at times it is directly. I have 3 kids, whose responsibility is also on my shoulders. I go to fields in the time of harvesting season and pick up cotton. Clear it from fibers as well. Sometimes I just morally support my husband and family. I have to do entire work of home as well. Women here collect the woods for fuel even. So we go to woods and collect woods. Me: Do you think that your efforts are properly recognized by your house members and people around?
Zubaida: In villages, all these works are taken for granted. They are part of daily life of a woman. But if you ask for recognition, Men are never happy and they can never be. You do whatever but they will never appreciate you. I have been watching my mother and grandmother dying while doing all this and I don’t expect any such recognition as well. My in laws really support me and help me in taking care of house and my kids when I am working. Me: Highlight various problems which you may face in performing agriculture activities in your area?
Zubaida: We don’t face many problems in maintaining our lives as much as the landlords give us. They usually exploit women for their personal satisfaction. The men, as well, harass women very often. One cannot just simply go out alone, there is always a fear. A young girl was raped in the fields during the harvesting season of Rice last year. It just added to our fears. But even then, we love our work. We do it with honesty. Answers of Sofia:
Me: What kind of activities you perform usually in agriculture (production, harvesting, supporting activity (which type of support) or any other)? Sofia: I raise the livestock; perform all the seeding till post harvest activities. I have cottage industry set up at home as well which is helpful in making cloth from cotton that we produce. Me: How do you participate in agricultural activities?
Sofia: I get up early in the morning with Fjr prayer. Clear the mess of house and the livestock. We have raised many animals like buffaloes, goats and cow in our own courtyard. The urea is generated this way which is better than many branded ones available in market. I collect it and take it our fields and add it to our cultivatable land which just increases the fertility of land. During harvesting, me and my family all go to fields and pick up cotton bushels. After the harvesting is done, I engage myself in post harvesting activities which go round the clock throughout the year. Me: Do you think that your efforts are properly recognized by your house members and people around?
I am not married but my father is physically disabled and I don’t have any bother too. I even teach students in the evening. And I perform all these agricultural activities myself in close coordination with others. My family and people around me really regard my efforts. They have watched me growing this piece of land over the years and I am really proud I have done it without any major help/support from any man around. Me: Highlight various problems which you may face in performing agriculture activities in your area?
The water here is too filthy. Let alone humans, the crops even bear loss due to it. Water logging is another major problem. As far as problems in performing agricultural activities are concerned, harassment factor of the men here is very high. I go out alone many a times but the fear factor Is there. The people at times look with very cruel looks as to tell me that my age is going and I am yet not married. But I don’t want to marry at all, I want to work and take care of my land and parents.
Answers of Shahida
Me: What kind of activities you perform usually in agriculture (production, harvesting, supporting activity (which type of support) or any other)? Shahida: I perform the supporting activities when it comes to harvesting of crops. In village, men usually work all day till night during harvesting season. I go to fields collect the crops. I help in weeding and transplanting as well. I even make mud bins for storage of crop. Me: How do you participate in agricultural activities?
Shahida: My major and foremost attention is my home and kids. They go to school and I have to do everything to get their good grades as well. When my children go to school, my work starts from there till they come back. I make their meals and leave for fields. Help my husband there in seeding, watering, threshing or anything that’s workable there. I even morally support my husband. He owns a big piece of land and I usually advice him on matters related to fields as I have done BS in agriculture studies. Me: Do you think that your efforts are properly recognized by your house members and people around?
Yes, my family and people around me really appreciate my efforts. I advise them on their issues as well related to farming or land. My husband is a morale booster. My kids recognize and appreciate my efforts by gaining excellent grades in studies. People around me really respect and regard my management of time for farming and my kids. This really encourages me to work better. Me: Highlight various problems which you may face in performing agriculture activities in your area?
Salinity is a major problem. Most of the lands are infertile because of this problem. As for the problems in performing agricultural activities are concerned, the male harassing female factor is very crucial. But is not just here, it’s in cities and everywhere. We have Lack of knowledge and skills are yet another problem that we have here in village. The machinery is not available. The new techniques are not known to people. We are forced to use age-old system and techniques of harvesting and cultivating. People are just too poor to afford the land so they work on landlords land on tender basis. These landlords exploit them at the end of season by not paying enough money of their struggle which results in chaos and dishonesty of tenants’ their masters.
Conclusion and Recommendations:
Conclusion: I talked to the women there generally. Most of them were not at all educated. I saw many of them working in the fields as they have seeded something and they were watering it. The people were very polite and hospitable. When I went there, I had few reservations in my mind about the mindset of village people. But this all turn out to be an amazing and memorable visit.
What I inferred from my finding is that they women are the backbone of the agriculture sector. Men alone can never perform the tasks if they have to look into household and taking care of the parents and the rest affairs. Women have the natural tendency of performing multipart activities. They carry out the agricultural tasks in addition to their normal routine of cooking, taking care of children, fetching water and collect woods for fuel, cleaning house and its maintenance.
The dilemma is that the society doesn’t recognize their efforts at all. If they do it on face, they talk bad about women on their backs. Another major issue that they pointed out was the harassment by males. This is one of those hurdles which don’t let any women go out with confidence and perform the work that they want to. Lack of skills, techniques and equipment is yet another issue. Recommendations: Women need the right direction there. They and their efforts must be appreciated my family members, men and the whole society in general. They must be given confidence. Male factor in agricultural society is very important but if it is harassing women and urging them to fear in going out, then there must be a law to save women. I heard the people talking about panchayat system there when I asked about how they punish the offenders. The system provides justice on a grass root level to these village folks. But the punchayat is often a sold out body of land lords which exploit the villagers’ right. The offenders are usually relatives of these landlords and they escape the punishment easily. There must be a rule of law in the villages where everybody must be given equal opportunity and way to justice.
2ndly, the government must provide these tenants the security. Government can probe in when some landlord deprive them of their right. Even the tenants can be provided the government’s land on easy installments. Lastly, the skills and new techniques of farming must be brought into account of these women and village folks. I have seen the tendency to excel in them. They have no money to afford such things, free seminars or question-answer session must be help once in a while in villages.