Islamabad (Muhammad Yasir) FrieslandCampina Engro Pakistan Ltd (FCEPL) hosted an event titled ‘Rural Women Rising’ in honor of women farmers and Agripreneurs, on the 31st of January at the Serena Hotel in Islamabad.
The theme of the event was “breaking the barriers and empowering women through dairy value chain” The event celebrated these women, hailing from rural sites from within Sindh and Punjab, as well as their combined accolades, achievements, and ongoing journeys. These were only made possible by the guidance, training and facilitations of FCEPL’s expert field teams and their ongoing resolve for uplifting the socio-economic status of the hard-working rural women within their communities. This is indicative of FCEPL’s commitment to the UNSDG’s of gender equality, poverty alleviation and zero hunger. “
It is incredible to witness how FrieslandCampina has changed the lives of so many of our rural women, their families and communities.” Said First Lady of Pakistan, Mrs. Samina Alvi who was the chief guest on the occasion, “It is evident that these women are just as valuable and capable as men in their communities and [because of FCEPL’s facilitation] they are earning much-needed livelihoods for themselves and their families.”
Federal Minister for Food Security and Research, Mr Syed Fakhar Imam, commented “It has been my pleasure to witness the strength displayed by the women celebrated here. It has been an incredible showcase of their skill and ambition. The empowerment of women is a matter of national interest and FrieslandCampina should be proud to be at the helm of such an important mission.” FCEPL, formerly Engro Foods is one of Pakistan’s premium dairy companies and part of Royal FrieslandCampina (RFC), Netherlands. As part of its corporate values particularly Gender Equality, FCEPL kept its focus on the empowerment of rural women, both economically and socially through actively involving these women in the dairy value chain.
Another proud moment for the dairy industry in Pakistan, Mr. Hein Schumacher, Global CEO, Royal FrieslandCampina was also in attendance, “Our resolve of diversity and inclusion keeps us motivated to help unleash the potential of these great rural ladies to earn livelihoods, empower them and play active role in the economic growth. FrieslandCampina is proud to be a patron for the Pakistani women and truly understands the great work and contributions, they are capable of.” In this journey of over 15 years, FCEPL have actively partnered with reputed international agencies such as UNDP, USAID, GIZ, DEG and DFAT to train and facilitate women to become successful dairy entrepreneurs.
Over 28000 female farmers in Pakistan have benefitted from these programs to date, with over 2000 female extension workers trained as well. Few of those many amazing success stories were shared in the event by the beneficiary rural women themselves which were inspiring and mesmerizing. While narrating those success stories and transformation that has happened in their personal, family and community lives, some ladies broke into tears leaving a long term impression on the audience.
Speaking on the occasion President Food and Beverages RFC, Mr. Roel Neerbos applauded the efforts of FrieslandCampina Engro Pakistan “It is only through invested efforts like these can the rural sector truly develop and become the powerhouse we know it can be. We are happy and congratulate all those women for becoming successful agripreneurs and wish them best of luck in future as well. Credit goes to local leadership of FrieslandCampina.”
Presenting the vote of thanks Mr. Ali Ahmed Khan said “FrieslandCampina Engro Pakistan remains committed to improving farmers livelihoods with women focused approach and we are creating all that enabling environment through our dedicated team of experts and enablers. We are extremely thankful to our global leadership as well as the government and development partners for great support in our journey of women inclusive growth and development in the dairy sector of Pakistan.”
The event was attended by wide array of audience and dignitaries including Ministers, MNAs, MPAs, Member of SDG Parliamentary Task Force, women entrepreneurs, NGOs, INGOs, Development Partners, academia and leadership of FCEPL.