Pakistan being a less developed country largely relies on agriculture as an important component of the economy and employment generation. A large population of Pakistan is directly or indirectly involved in the agricultural sector, but women as compared to men, are less involved in this sector because of the social and cultural barriers. Pakistan’s total female population is 47.5 percent out of which 79.4 percent of the total rural women are engaged in agriculture.

According to a survey, a Pakistani rural women works 15 hours a day, in agricultural activities specially crop production. Women perform activities like sowing, weeding, harvesting, post-harvest operations such as threshing, drying, grinding, husking and storage along with the routine domestic chores at their homes. Women remain extremely busy especially during the two farming seasons in sowing and harvesting. Their participation is particularly high in major crops like wheat, cotton, rice, pulses and also in the production of vegetables.

Vegetables are most commonly grown in Pakistan by women because they require less labor and can be done on marginal lands. On the other hand picking cotton is extensively a women task and massive growth rates in cotton production have generated tremendous demand for female labor and this type of production-labor interaction had lead towards a lot of feminization in agriculture sector of Pakistan. But in coming future the role of women in agriculture seems to be diminishing because of the mechanization being introduced.

Most of the work done by women in crop production is now easily done, with less time consumption by the machines being introduced in the agriculture sector. On the other hand there are no such measures taken by the agricultural extension department for the encouragement and participation of the rural women. Government should provide easy incentives to the rural women so that they can utilize the money for activities like buying small landholdings and growing vegetables and other minor crops on these lands for their income generation.

SHIREEN FAYYAZ,

Rawalpindi, July 3.