ISLAMABAD-Policy interventions that address the specific needs of women farmers are the need of the hour to mitigate the current adverse effects on the economy during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, speakers said on Friday.

This was the consensus of the speakers of the session organised during the 2nd day of the three-day Annual Conference on International Rural Women Day on Friday.  This is 13th Annual Conference organised by PODA-Pakistan in connection with International Rural Women Day that is celebrated on 15th October.

The theme of the conference is “Rural Women’s Leadership in Climate Change Adaptation,

COVID-19 Response, Governance and Disaster Preparedness.” The conference will conclude today on award distribution ceremony in Lok Virsa. PODA-Pakistan organised three-day Annual Conference on International Rural Women Day. The conference started on Thursday at Virsa, Islamabad. 

A very significant session was organised Friday to celebrate International Food Day on theme of “Women Farmers and Climate Change Adaptation in Pakistan.” 

The women farmers of the session validated through their testimonial addresses that the climate change has affected their lives adversely. The rural women representative from four provinces alongwith Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan identified factors due to which hostile and adverse changes occurred in their lives due to COVID-19 pandemic.

The speakers were of the view that the pandemic response needed to be focused to address the growing inequalities faced by the rural women of Pakistan while considering the negative impacts unreasonably borne by them.

Minà Dowlatchahi, FAO Representative in Pakistan was the guest of honour during the session on “Women Farmers and Climate Change Adaptation in Pakistan.” World Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) supported PODA-Pakistan to hold this session on the subject to share their accomplishments where both and men are collaborating with FAO in Sindh and Balochistan. FAO Representative was of the view that platforms like this conference are important to unlock the potential of women who need to have equal participation in every sphere of life. Addressing the gathering she said that to expedite the struggle for your rights you need to keep working and raise collective voice to move your plan of action.

President PODA-Pakistan Sameena Nazir said, “rural women are the centre of agriculture and in most cases are solely responsible for food security of their families and nutrition of their families and children especially. They need to be incorporated well in the government policies, she added.

The rural women addressed the conference were Bushra Tabassum from AJK, Bismillah Irum, Khanewal, Shazia, Hunza, Safia Baloch from Balochistan, Farzana Ashraf, from Chakwal, Nasreen Awan, from Sahiwal, Pushpa Kumari from Hyderabad, Kanzadi from Tharparkar, Marvi Abida from Badin, Shamim un Nisa from Badin spoke on the occasion and highlighted issues which are fundamental to women development.