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Vegetable project in Pakistan helps woman farmer build confidence and boost her income


Kubra Bibi, a farm labourer from Pakistan, faced financial struggles like many smallholders in her region. Lack of knowledge and skills in vegetable farming hinders income generation, particularly for women. Through the Tomato Flagship Initiative (TFI), part of the Strengthening Vegetable Value Chains project, CABI and partners trained women on tomato seedling production. Kubra successfully grew over 4,000 seedlings, sold a quarter at market, and gained confidence to pursue farming as a career, challenging traditional gender roles in agriculture.

The story

Kubra Bibi is a farm labourer from Pakistan. Like many smallholders here, she struggles to make enough money to meet her family’s needs.

In Pakistan, over 60% of the population live in rural areas. Poverty in these communities is high at nearly 55%. And while growing vegetables can provide a source of income, careers in horticulture are challenging.

Lack of knowledge about how to run a vegetable business is a big hurdle. Farmers lack the skills they need to grow high-quality produce to sell at market. Women especially lack access to farming and marketing knowledge and the confidence to pursue farming careers.

In 2020, the Tomato Flagship Initiative (TFI) began work as part of the Strengthening Vegetable Value Chains project in Pakistan. CABI and its partners supported the project, which aimed to help smallholders access more profitable tomato value chains. The project trained women how to grow tomato seedlings in nurseries and increase their incomes.

Kubra Bibi took part in the training. Investing in a tomato hybrid, she grew over 4,000 seedlings in a polytunnel, applying best practices she had learnt. Over 85% of her seeds were healthy and germinated. She grew most of the seedlings on leased land and sold almost a quarter at a nearby market, earning 2,475 PKR.

She said, “Before participating in TFI, we did not know about tomato seedling enterprises. We were shy and felt hesitant to speak in front of men. As a result, our involvement in family decision-making was also less. Male family members were conservative with our roles as females in farming. This changed as we gained knowledge and skills in best practice nursery production and growing tomatoes. [Trainers] helped me to realize that success is not a one-time achievement. It is a constant journey. I am a self- confident lady, and I believe that agriculture is incomplete without females. Insha’Allah, I will adopt the best practices of entrepreneurship and will be the best entrepreneur for tomato seedlings in future.”

Sustainable Development Goals

No Poverty

Helping small-scale farmers improve their livelihoods by providing knowledge about plant health and access to markets.

Zero Hunger

Developing a sustainable food system that helps smallholders meet the world's growing need for food.

Gender Equality

Empowering women and young people to play a more powerful role in the future of agriculture.

Responsible Consumption and Production

Helping grow more from less land by introducing higher-yielding and environmentally responsible food production techniques.

Partnerships for the Goals

Organizations must develop and enhance partnerships to find the best and most sustainable solutions to the world's challenges.

Related News & Blogs

Project launched to strengthen vegetable value chains in Pakistan

CABI has launched a project to strengthen the value chains of four vegetables in Pakistan – thereby helping to boost the household incomes and livelihoods of thousands of smallholder farmers and their families.

16th May 2018

Related projects

Strengthening vegetable value chains in Pakistan

Small-scale vegetable farmers in Pakistan encounter a number of issues that compromise their sustainable livelihoods; particularly for women and youth. Through the project, an alliance of selected organizations aimed to improve the livelihoods of rural communities in Sindh and Punjab by strengthening selected horticultural value chains and promoting sustainable production and marketing opportunities.

Start: 16/02/2018 End: 31/12/2022