Public Private Dialogue held on Sindh Women Agricultural Workers Act, 2019  


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 highlight the challenges hindering the implementation in a public private dialogue organized by Research and Development Foundation (RDF) in collaboration with Mohatta Palace Museum and Sindh indigenous and Traditional Crafts Company (SITCO) under Growth for Rural Advancement and Sustainable Progress (GRASP) project funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by International Trade Centre (ITC), held today at Mohatta Palace Museum, Karachi.

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 as a best opportunity in this regard and said that GRASP is there for next 3 years and can provide support to the implementation of this act.

Dr. Shireen Narejo, Technical Advisor at Sindh Rural Agriculture Support Organization shared highlighted on the importance of Sustainable development goal No 8 which states the Decent Work and Economic Growth.

She highlighted the irrelevant and unpractical points included in the Act such as provision of 120 days maternal leave, whereas government policies mentioned only ninety days leave in their policies.

She criticized that if there is no any law about fixed wages of males so how it can be considered for females only. Hence, Dr. Shireen emphasized on the equality in laws for men and women and its regulation. Furthermore, she highlighted 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 focused on the need to make gender sensitive and gender inclusive laws and work on making these women agricultural law workable.

Nabi Bux Sathio, Vice President Sindh Chamber of Agriculture emphasized on the role of women in agricultural sector. He said that climate change is a major indicator in the field of agriculture which adversely affects both, men and women agricultural workers.

Hence, it should be focused in the act along with technical advancement, which is also very crucial component to consider. Government should ensure the insurance of women agricultural workers so that their rights could be protected.

Mahmood Nawaz Shah, Vice Chairman Sindh Abadgar Board regared 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 first step, it gives recognition but it is useless if not implemented properly. Therefore, he focused on 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.