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Pakistan’s foremost telecom and digital services provider, Telenor Pakistan, has joined forces with Punjab Livestock & Dairy Development Board (PLDDB) to enhance women participation in agriculture and farming sector. The collaboration will promote awareness on nutrition, dairy, livestock, agriculture and livelihood related issues through Telenor Pakistan’s communication platform in the province of Punjab.
Under the agreement, Telenor Pakistan will launch a dedicated IVR helpline on its mobile agriculture service Khushaal Zamindar for female farmers to sensitize them about making smart choices in order to maximize their revenues from agriculture and farming. The free-of-cost service will be initially launched in five districts of Punjab to gauge the impact and will be subsequently extended to other parts of the province.
Currently about 20 percent of the 2.5 million Khushaal Zamindar users are females. Telenor and PLDDB aim to ensure further uptake through the females-centric helpline which will provide female farmers localized, contextualized and customized information about livestock, health and nutritional requirements. Through the simple and user-friendly service, the female farmers will just need to dial 7272-51 to access the relevant information, a number where 51 denotes the percentage of women population of the country.
In view of multiple social barriers that resist technology uptake for women, Telenor Pakistan and PLDDB will organize multiple female-only live shows to foster awareness about the usefulness of mobile technology vis-a-vis the agricultural growth. Female farmers will be able to call and ask questions to access real-time information from female agriculture experts and nutritionists at the show.
“An overwhelming majority of women, about 72 percent, is in one way or the other associated with the agricultural sector whose contributions go unnoticed and unappreciated,” said Irfan Wahab Khan, CEO, Telenor Pakistan. “We are collaborating with PLDDB to empower them so they can play a more significant and impactful role in the larger economy. Telenor Pakistan is expanding its mobile agriculture service Khushaal Zamindar to incorporate a dedicated female farmers helpline which, in its core, is an acknowledgement of the contributions of these brave women who work tirelessly without eying any appreciation. With the help of PLDDB, we will run a mass awareness campaign to enhance their participation in agriculture and farming which will go on to positively impact the country’s economy.”
Commenting on the development, Saira Iftikhar, CEO at PLDDB said, “We are thankful to Telenor Pakistan for extending their technical support and expertise to this project which aims at augmenting women participation in Punjab’s agricultural and farming sector. The Government of Pakistan is keen to ensure the role of women in national development, who constitute about 51 percent of the population. PLDDB and Telenor Pakistan will run an awareness campaign focusing on women farmers to encourage women participation in the process and will extend technical support and advice through a dedicated helpline. I am hopeful that with the ubiquitous presence of telecommunication technology, we will be able to effectively disseminate the message, monitor progress and provide advisory services when needed to increase the country’s agricultural and livestock yields manifold.”
Telenor Pakistan has forged multiple collaborations and has launched many initiatives to explore the full potential of the agriculture sector of Pakistan, which is the major contributor to the national economy. Its Khushaal Zamindar farmers’ advisory service provides localized and relevant information to farmers to help them make informed choices to increase their agricultural produce. Besides improving the agricultural yield, the use of agriculture advisory services will help attain a daily increase of 0.5 liter milk per animal for 5 million livestock farmers of Punjab which will go on to add PKR 250 billion to the rural economy.