KARACHI: The government should enact legislation to ensure appropriate wages and protect the rights of more than half million women cotton pickers.
This was the crux of speech at a dialogue titled “Issues and Problems of Women Cotton Pickers” organized by Sindh Community Foundation here.
Speakers said that Pakistan was the fourth largest producer of cotton after China, India, Unites States (in 1,000 metric tonnes) wherein 23.55 percent of women were engaged with cotton picking alone in Sindh. Despite being one of the major cash crops of Sindh province, labourers engaged with cotton picking are facing worst situation including low wages and poor working conditions. More than half million women cotton pickers are engaged in cotton growing districts including Sanghar, Ghotki, Khairpur, Umerkot and Matiari.
They said the EU granted GSP Plus status to Pakistan granting Pakistani products a duty free access to the European market but nor such regulator body has been formed to curb exploitation in textile and agriculture sector. Researcher Haris Gazadr said the rural workers in agriculture sector are experiencing miserable condition in rural Sindh.
The speakers pointed out that mostly non-Muslim women were involved in cotton picking receiving less income in due seasons. There is need to improve the living conduction of labours involved in cotton picking as they have very low nutrition status and limited access to livelihoods.