ISLAMABAD, Aug 23 (APP):The rice exporters prioritized the empowerment of rice transplants women and small farmers to provide a decent working environment during the rice transplantation in different districts of the Punjab.
“We are prompting the decent working conditions and improve livelihoods of the small land holder farmers, farm labor and families of rice transplanters in the entire rice value chain during the challenging situation of Covid-19 Pandemic in upper Punjab including district Sheikhupura and other districts of the Province, Chief Operating Officer (COO) Rice Partners Limited (RPL) a known rice exporters group and philanthropy organization, Muhammad Ali Tariq told APP here on Sunday.
The Rice Partners Limited (RPL) trained 150 families on Covid-19 safety measures and also provided them decent working conditions, food packets, shelter/canopy, Personal Protection Equipments (PPEs), first aid boxes, solar system, fans, Water cooler, Desert Cooler and stationary items for their kids in different districts of upper Punjab”
He said around 15000 families are engaged only from district Sheikhupura and more then 100,000 from all over the different districts of Punjab.
Under decent work condition RPL has establishing mother community centres for the children of rice translators from 2015 onwards every year with the support of Mars Foods for the children of rice transplanters to avoid their presence at farm during the rice transplanting seasons and engage them into learning activities while their parents are at work, Muhammad Tariq said.
This year (2020), RPL has established childcare facilities at both farm and community level.
He said that younger children below the age of 5 years are taken to the farms along with their elder brother or sister to be looked after when their mother is busy.
He said that RPL has been engaged with rice farmers in Sheikhupura district well other districts of the Punjab province since 2011, a potential agriculture region of the country.
He said Rice Partners is a social impact business that works with thousands of growers of Basmati in Upper Punjab Pakistan to provide them with the best growing practices for enhancing their yields and livelihoods.
While talking to APP, Manager Sustainability RPL MR. Zafar Iqbal said that these marginalized families of rice growers, especially women, have their key role for the cultivation of rice which is the main crop for the food security of the entire world.
He said that rice transplanting is carried out from mid-June till the start of August in every year, when temperature remains between 37 – 45 C®. in these regions of rice cultivation.
Usually all members from these families take part in transplanting work, he added.
Zafar said that Children from these families also accompany their parents (mothers) due to several reasons.
On the occasion Field Manager, Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation, Zahid Rehman said that for protecting the children these families from these risks RPL with support of Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation and Swiss Solidarity has provided these children with the moveable backpack canopies covered from all sides to avoid the insects and provision of shelters along with the dry food, repellents, and water coolers in rice cultivation region of the Punjab Province, he said.
Zahid Rehman said that Conditions on the farm are highly hazardous and expose children to several risks of insect bites, injuries and infections, exposure to extreme heat and pesticides without any shelter.
Similarly, for the larger group of families working jointly a farm level big shelter tent along with solar plates, fans, air cooler, water cooler and first aid boxes were provided to keep the children in a healthy and safe environment at farm level, he said.