Preparation of Green Compost at the lands of women Farmers in Punjab and Sindh

Under the base of PKMT Jazba farmers cooperative there are four Agro ecological farms which tend by women. A woman’s presence led farms are entirely new experience and will be a model for rural women empowerment. Farmers are having meetings and preparing green compost for their crops.


Preparation of green compost in Multan, Punjab

A woman gathering dead leaves of trees for making compost

Sindh Jazba cooperative farmers having meeting in Shikarpur, Sindh after a visit to farmers while making green compost

Interviews from the farmers of PKMT Farmers Cooperative Jazba

Under PKMT Farmers’ Cooperative Jazba there are 12 agroecological farms in three provinces, Sindh, KPK and Punjab. Each farm is on one acre of land. Six farms are in Sindh, four farms are in KPK and two are in Punjab. Out of these twelve farms, women farmers manage four.

During our visits to the Jazba farms we carried out interviews with different farmers. The farmers provided details on preparation of land and the varieties of traditional seeds they have sown.  They also described green compost preparation that they are carrying out on their land so that will be applied on their land. The farmers were also preparing the natural pesticide, which they will use if needed.

  1. BakhtiarZeb, farmer from Lower Dir said that he has been part of PKMT since 2011. He said that our ancestors did not use chemical pesticides such as DAP and urea but we have used it and face the harmful effect on the crops. Our father had also advised us and stopped us from using chemical inputs as it carries disease. Now as we realize it, we have also gone back to sustainable agriculture.

To prepare natural fertilizer (green compost) we have put rotten vegetables as well as peel from vegetables collected from our home use and animal manure. It will be ready in two months, but will look open the pit again after 10 to 15 days. Bakhtiar said that “I believe in natural traditional farming and have practiced it from a long time.”

He has willingly contributed one acre of his land toward the Jazba cooperative. In his one acre of land he has sown two kinds of traditional seeds, namely, Haripur white wheat (which was obtained from a farmer in Haripur about 9-10 years ago) and Ratti (which is a red colored seed indigenous to Dera Ismail Khan, Punjab). He added that he is also making natural spray for pesticides from urine of cow as an experiment.

  1. The Farmer from district Shikarpur, Ali Gul Solongi, said that he is member of PKMT. He had sowed three varieties of wheat seed in his one acre of land. He had used 25 kg of a traditional seed from Mansehra, Khyber Pakhtunkwa, 25 kg of seed from Rajanpur, Punjab and 15 kg of Galaxy seed form Sindh. The last is not a traditional seed but has been used over and over again for the past four years. It is being sown for the fifth time with in PKMT farms. He has added the third variety as he feels that 25 kg of seed may be less for the acreage on which it is being used.

According to him, he has turned to sustainable way of cultivation so that he can grow healthy seed. He feels that production may be low, but it will be healthy. Secondly, expenses will be reduced and yield pure seed. Ali Gul added that we will be able to eat this grain, save it as well distribute it to other farmers. His message was “Desi beech ugao . . . companeo ko bhagao” (sow traditional seeds and drive out companies).

Upscaling and Strengthening Agro ecology:

Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT) has established a Farmers Cooperative and named it Jazba. Jazba has enlisted various farmers to further agro ecology-based farms in seven districts spread over three provinces of Pakistan with the collaboration between various actors, that include mass-based farmers’ organizations, non-government organizations, academia and consumer groups.

Jazba aims to upscale and strengthen agro ecology and to build technical and social alliance between various actors such as farmers movements, trade unions, women’s groups, scientists and consumers to advocate for agro ecology and food sovereignty and to bring out the strength of agroecology as a science, as a movement and as a practice, especially in face of corporate hegemony, which is detrimental to farmers self-sufficiency, health and environment.

No doubt the collaboration is more of a political response to the threats being faced by society at large, but most importantly the marginalized especially landless and small farmers, women farmers and general public.The collaboration is also helping in linking farmers with consumer markets as well.

A foundation stone of Jazba is to promote safe, nutritious and healthy food for all. The extensive use of chemicals in corporate farming based on use of hybrid and genetically modified seeds, toxic pesticides and chemical fertilizers has severely impacted the health of all living things as well has been a cause for massive destruction of biodiversity.

Of the 12 agro ecological farms, six are in Sindh,two in Punjab and four in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Every farm consists of one acre of land. Four of the 12 agro ecology farm, four are managed by women. Presence of women-led farms is an entirely new experience and will be a model for rural women’s empowerment.

Each farmer has only used natural fertilizers from animal dung and green compost. Six farmers have already initiated making compost on the land; the other five are preparing land but has been postponed due to rains in December 2019 and January 2020. Formal initiation of the 12 farms was initiated with wheat sowing season.An initial training for preparing biological pesticides was given early in the project.

PKMT and its partners will launch a campaign to create greater awareness of agro ecological practices, its economic and social benefits and to motivate other farmers and groups to engage in agroecology.

“Corporate Agriculture: Decent Livelihood, Pure Nutritious Food and Environmental Justice Impossible!” (PKMT) 12th Annual Assembly

Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT) held its 12th Annual Conference 28, December, 2019 in Jampur, Rajanpur. The theme of the conference was “Corporate Agriculture: Decent Livelihood, Pure Nutritious Food and Environmental Justice Impossible!”

The Annual conference started with the registration of the members from various districts of the country.

The 12th PKMT General Assembly was kicked off with welcome remarks from the Punjab provincial coordinator Maqsood Ahmed, Rajanpur district coordinator Abdul Ghafaar. A one minute silence was observed in memory of Ghulam Yaseen, PKMT member who had passed away earlier this year.

The program began with a theatre  performance from the PKMT group “PUKKUK”.

Key Notes were delivered by Azra Talat Sayeed, followed by two different sessions focusing on the debacle of corporate agriculture, its impacts on farmers’ livelihood, climate crisis and decreasing access to safe nutritious food. Guest speaker was a trade unionist Mr Junaid Awan, Railway Workers Union.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial coordinator Mr Fayaz Ahmed provided a detailed run down on PKMT’s activities for 2019.

An award giving ceremony was conducted for farmers practicing Sustainable Agriculture. The two farmers who received the PKMT PaidarZarat Award were Mr Bakhtayar Zeb, Lower Dir, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Mr Ali Gohar, Gohar, Sindh. Both were chosen for receiving the award based on a criteria set by the PKMT National Seed Committee.

A session by the name of “Bol K Lab Azad Hain Tere” provided space for issues raised by famers across the country.

A vote of thanks was delivered by the Sindh provincial coordinator followed by the PKMT tarana sung by the members.

PKMT explores commercialization of the milk industry!

Paikistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT) plans to explore the impact of extensive commercialization of the milk industry in Pakistan on small and landless farmers, particularly women who are the major livestock care givers, especially for milk production and collection.  In this context, PKMT intends to carry out community-led researches by women farmers a the village level. The idea is to understand women farmers’ role in livestock care, especially fodder provision and milk production. The movement wants to mobilise women to resist the corporate hegemony in the dairy sector at the grassroots.

The need for the research was felt based on the fact that many bilateral trade agencies such as the US AID, Australian Aid, and recently China have focused on the dairy sector in Pakistan. The corporate structure in the diary sector is controlled by a handful of corporations, the biggest being Nestle. The second corporation was local, namely Engro, which last year was bought by Friesland Campina, Netherlands and has acquired 51% shares in Engro. There are many interlinked issues in context to the dairy sector, which include genetics, fodder, milk quality standards linked with market access, control and trade.

The Pakistan Pure Food Laws (PFL) has been revised over the years and PFL 2011 is the basis for the existing trade-related food quality and safety legislative framework.It covers more than 400 items and includes milk and milk products. Pakistan is a member of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and harmonizes standards based on international requirements. The national standardization body is the Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA), which is responsible for coordinating a number of international institutions regulating trade. These include the WTO, ISO, and Codex Alimentarius. As part of the PFL, the province of Punjab has created the Punjab Food Authority (PFA), whose basic purpose is to layout standards for food articles and regulates their manufacturing, storage, distribution, sale and imports. In the past few years the PFA has been very stringent about testing open (loose) milk. In May 2019, it has prohibited sale of loose milk (which is currently under challenge in courts) and would like to pass legislation for selling only pasteurized milk in first Lahore city, and later the whole of Punjab.

Currently, the dairy sector in Pakistan has three kinds of producers; small farmers, medium-sized farmers and producers and large-scale producers. However, the backbone of the dairy sector is formed by the small farmers who collectively own about 50% of all milk-producing animals.