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Improving lives by solving problems in agriculture and the environment

Agricultural training for Pakistan's rural women

Agricultural training for Pakistan

While women play an equally important role as men in Pakistan’s farming systems, they typically have little access to information on modern farming techniques due to cultural rules that prevent them interacting with male agricultural extension staff. In 2013 and 2014, CABI initiated farmer training activities specifically targeting women in two areas of the country: Gilgit-Baltistan in the high North, and southern Punjab in the flatter central part of Pakistan.

Majida working in her kitchen garden, Pakistan

Agricultural training for Pakistan's rural women

Despite the economic importance of agriculture, many young people and women have little access to information that could help them improve their farming careers and livelihoods.

CABI has been working with women farmers in Pakistan, and now CABI's commissioned an impact study in order to learn lessons on the effectiveness of the training.


Training course poster 

Women with more than 8 years of schooling were trained 

In the Punjab, each training centre hosted groups of 25 women, recruited from the five villages. These were nominated by senior figures in each community in accordance with several criteria: being between 15 and 35 years old; having achieved 8th grade at school (ie. in education up to around 15-16 years); and ideally coming from the poorest families. The first batch of 123 young women was trained over a three-month period between September and December 2013, with the participants receiving a stipend of 3,000 to 4,000 rupees (US$50-65) per month and many became a lot more confident.

Majida working in her kitchen garden, Pakistan

Number of women influencing household spending rose after training

There was an increase (from 22% to 52%) in the percentage of women who no longer required permission from a male family member in order to leave their house, although most of these women also stated that they chose not to leave their homes, continuing to adhere to their culture. In Skardu, there was no measurable change in women’s mobility, although in both areas, mobile phone ownership among women increased after their training.

Project Office at Muzaffargarh, Punjab, Pakistan

Uneducated women (80%) get more from training

In Gilgit-Baltistan, many of the women were uneducated or had only received Madrassa training. However, the women supported each other in tightly-knit training groups, and the few educated women helped the others to understand the more technical aspects. As a result, the women were seen to be both more interested and learn more from the training than the men (43% of whom had higher education), and successfully apply what they learned.