Islamabad, (Parliament Times) : Shirakat-Partnership for Development organized an Agri-Preneurs fair with financial support from the Standard Chartered Foundation through the British Asian Trust.
Agri-Preneurs Fair was an incredible event of rural women who have formed the first agribusiness women’s cooperative in Pakistan. It currently has 750 members who work in five women’s business interest groups that promises to introduce the spark of innovation in the agriculture sector by showcasing the sundried products to empower women entrepreneurs with a focus on sustainability, technology, and collaboration.The project aims to redefine the livelihood under the project “Post COVID-19 Recovery of Women and Youth Livelihoods through Agricultural Enterprise Development.”One hundred and twenty (120) Business Interest Groups (BIGs) were set up in Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Muzaffargarh, and Sheikhupura.This project has successfully empowered 750 beneficiaries.
This project is the path for Agri-Preneurs from rural areas of Pakistan to success with the focus on supporting women through the development of technical and entrepreneurial skills. Project highlighted the Importance of links to business markets and access to financial resources for future growth. The methodology was based on research that statesskills are not enough to lift marginalized people out of povertyhowever to ensure women’s participation in market forces for sustainable business enterprise development. Ensuring links to the market and wider resources, particularly financial, are vital for sustainable growth.
Key highlights of Agri-Preneurs Fair:
The fair featured an array of innovative exhibits sundried vegetables and fruits by providing an ideal platform for Business networking and collaboration. Attendees can connect with like-minded individuals, potential investors, and partners who share a passion for business and innovation. In recognition of the importance of sustainable livelihoods, the fair highlighted eco-friendly practices, conservation initiatives, and sustainable agriculture solutions with the chance to savor the flavors of organically dehydrated vegetables through a farm-to-table experience.
The Executive Director of Shirakat shared that “Agri-PreneursFair is a testament to our commitment to sustainable livelihoods through innovation and entrepreneurship. We believe that by bringing together the brightest minds and the wonderful women here, we can address the pressing challenges facing the people in Pakistan, particularly women and young people. Due to the economic crisis, the majority of the 65 million people working in the informal sector were disproportionately affected. Women and youth are both predominantly employed in the informal sector in Pakistan (70% of women, 60% of youth), already lacking decent working conditions, pay and job security.
Pakistan also faces a severe food security crisis despite producing vast quantities of major staple and non-staple food crops. Women especially are impacted due to the food security crisis, who are already facing a lack of economic, social, and food security.
Rural entrepreneur Ms. Amina Bibi said, that this project has provided not only an alternative means for women to earn employment from their homes but the great business training, exposure to market and platforms like the fair make them more confident now they will be able to work better.
Ms. Bilqis Tahira during her address urged the relevant departments and government to create suchplatforms for rural women. “This fair is a milestone to achieve UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs)bypromoting gender equality, eradicating poverty and ensuring sustainable consumption and production.”