Masaganang Agrikultura, Maunlad na Ekonomiya!

DA bats for gender-inclusive seed systems; provides rural women policy, credit support

Author: DA Press Office | 24 August 2020

Recognizing the major role of women in Philippine agriculture, the Department of Agriculture (DA) bats for a stronger, gender-inclusive seed system to further boost food production and farmers’ incomes.

“Under the Duterte administration, the DA will continue to empower women farmers, being indispensable partners of their farmer-husbands, brothers, or sons. Together, they form our formidable food security army,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar.

“One of the foundations of food security is an effective seed system. Thus, women, farmers should always be part of the decision-making process throughout the food value chain, including the choice and use of quality crop seeds,” the DA chief added, who graced a webinar, titled “The role of women in developing a climate-smart seed system in the Philippines,” organized by the International Potato Center (CIP), on August 19, 2020.

“Related to this, the DA in partnership with the private sector, particularly the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA), will establish a National Seed Technology Park (NSTP), at the New Clark Green City, in Tarlac,” said Secretary Dar.

“We aim to bring major seed industry stakeholders — including women farmers, entrepreneurs, and local government officials — to be part of the country’s first-ever seed technopark,” the DA chief added.

“We have set aside an initial budget of P200 million to establish the facility, which is expected to help boost the country’s food security via sustained production of affordable, quality, pest-resistant, high-yield, and climate-resilient seeds,” he added.

Meanwhile, during the webinar, Secretary Dar was joined by two other DA officials: Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) Assistant Director Rosana Mula; and Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) Director Jocelyn Badiola. They presented the DA policy and credit support for a gender-inclusive seed system, respectively.

ATI director Mula said “since the DA has implemented the gender and development (GAD) policy, we have been adhering to gender inclusiveness. This entails empowering rural women and providing them equal opportunities and benefits, in terms of DA technical assistance and interventions, similar to their male counterparts.”

“Aside from policy support, the DA has also been providing financial assistance to agri-fishery industry players. Including women farmers,” said ACPC Director Badiola.

She said in fact the DA-ACPC is set to launch an exclusive credit program, called “Financial Assistance for Women in Agriculture and Fisheries” or “AgriPinay.”

Initially, Badiola said, “we aim to address their loss of income and livelihood, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and amplify gender equality in agribusiness.”

She said that majority of their borrowers are women farmers and entrepreneurs, and “it’s interesting to note that they have been registering outstanding repayment rates, probably because women are naturally good financial managers, they are goal-oriented and nurturing.”

Other resource persons and panelists during the CIP webinar were: Director Ernesto Brown of DOST-PCAARRD socio-economics research division; Emelita Monville Oro, IIRR Philippines country director; Mary Ann Sayoc of East-West Seed Int’l, and Philippine Seed Industry Association president; and Dr. Agnes Rola, UPLB professor emeritus. ### (Rita dela Cruz, DA StratComms)

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