A workshop was organized by the top rice exporters of Pakistan to train the women working in rice plantations and the rice millers on the basic Juvenile rights of the children of female agriculture workers especially rice plantations. The training was imparted by a renowned child rights activist.
The one-day training was organized by the Rice Partners Ltd (RPL) in collaboration with Helvetas Pakistan to ‘Promote Decent Working Conditions to Ensure Sustainable Rice Production’. The consultations were attended by 40 Rice milling companies, Civil society organization working on Child rights and Labor rights, Child bureau Govt of Pakistan, Agriculturists, Agronomists along with 3 Fairtrade Rice Producers and the Program Consultant of NAPP-Fairtrade International, Pakistan.
‘’Though it was the first-ever joint platform for Rice Producers including Fairtrade certified Producers where a debate on Decent working conditions and eradicating Child Labor Practices was initiated by us, which is also an integral part of Fairtrade Standards for SPOs under section 3 (production Part) that speaks on the importance of decent and good working conditions for workers, ensuring no abuse and no tolerance for Gender-Based Violence, providing Freedom from forced and compulsory labor and more importantly Prevention of Child labor in all our SPO setups in Pakistan. Through continued coordination, we hope that other non-Fairtrade rice producers will also adopt our Fairtrade set standards as an excellent example for safeguarding workers, women and children rights’’– Shahid Saddique, General Manager &Fairtrade Focal Person, Indus Farmer Association; FLO ID: 35740
During the workshop, Sarah Anum, Program Consultant NAPP, Fairtrade International introduced the participants to Fairtrade Standards and Policies that safeguard women and children’s rights in the agriculture sector within the system. It was highlighted about our Fairtrade producer organizations engaging themselves in providing the best facilities that promote decent working conditions for women and their children in the value chains. She also shared about the Flagship program – FT NAPP Gender leadership school where Women and young workers get trained on leadership skills along with other impacts created through the Fairtrade Premium educational and health Projects that benefit the farmer families and children.
At the end of the consultation, Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) and Fairtrade NAPP mutually raised concern about protection systems as well requested to establish a dedicated Child Protection Unit by the Child Protection Bureau, Govt. of Punjab in the surroundings of Mureedkey and Kamonki (where 80% of the rice industry is working). It was mutually decided by both the parties that they will follow up on the establishment of the Child Protection Unit by the concerned Govt authority and will work jointly in the future for the protection of the rights of children and women in rice plantations and also co-join their activities.
“The workshop was a wonderful opportunity to introduce the concept of Fairtrade among 40 other Rice producers, Civil Society Organizations, and Concerned Govt Departments. I took the responsibility of following up with the Rice partners on future development and also on our joint demand raised before the Child Protection Department to establish a Child Protection Unit in Mureedkey and Kamonki where most of the Rice plantations are located. ‘’ Abdul Majeed, Focal Person for Fairtrade; Hope Farmers Association; FLO ID 37459
”As a follow up Fairtrade NAPP is planning to work closing to ensure some steps are taken in the neighbouring community to ensure Child protection systems are in place. Such a combined consultation at the provincial level is vital to developing synergies between Fairtrade and other aligned organizations and certifications to work jointly towards the betterment of women workers, farmers, and their children in multiple ways’’ – added Sarah Anum Fairtrade NAPP-Program Consultant, Pakistan ( in the pic above)