Including more women in Plantwise Pakistan

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With a strong emphasis on making sure gender is embedded within the entire programme, Plantwise Pakistan has been actively pursuing the participation of more women in its activities and implementation. Realising the important role of females in agricultural development and the need to build their own capacity, the Agriculture Department of Punjab nominated 12 female agriculture officers from different districts to attend a recent Plantwise training session. The continuous increase in attendance of women is positive news for both Plantwise and Pakistan.

The two-day workshop on Desktop Version and Data Validation in Islamabad took place last month and was attended by a total of 42 Agriculture Officers from the Agriculture Department, Government of Punjab. The aim of the training session was to develop the skills of the department’s extension staff in the management of Plantwise data and field operations.

During the interactive session, a number of the female agriculture officers expressed that historically, very few women were trained as plant doctors; despite the fact that they are working as agriculture extension workers and performing the same duties in different districts of the province. They also shared that they had actively pursued their line managers to attend the training being delivered by Plantwise Pakistan.

“We get very limited chances for capacity building,” noted Ms. Sadia Mushtaq, an agricultural officer from Attock District and one of the participants, “but thanks to training like this, we are able to acquire hands-on skills for greater community benefits.”

The training proved a success for all participants, and the female agriculture officers showed their desire to become master trainers in desktop version and data validation for future Plantwise training. All the participants confirmed that they would be incorporating their learning into their plant clinics, which in turn will benefit the farmers in the future.

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Pakistan has the highest number of plant clinics of all the countries in the programme, with a total of 770 active plant clinics. By ensuring that female agricultural officers continue to be included in training going forward is a positive step in continuing to strengthen Plantwise in the country and build farmers’ knowledge and capacity.

“Plantwise has found that small steps at both local and national level can change the way gender is thought about, and therefore how it is addressed when delivering extension advice,” said Dr Babar Bajwa, Regional Director of CABI Central and West Asia, “Plantwise in Pakistan will continue to ensure that there is a strong gender focus in all its activities.”

In this case, all the female participants hoped that their training as a plant doctor and on-the-ground Plantwise activities will serve to inspire other agriculture officers to be a part of this programme.

Find out more about Plantwise in Pakistan on the Knowledge Bank→

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