Masaganang Agrikultura, Maunlad na Ekonomiya!

Success stories, studies on women in agri take center stage at NWMC 2023 culmination

Author: DA-AFID | 30 March 2023

Culminating this year’s National Women’s Month Celebration (NWMC) of the Department of Agriculture (DA), women and officials in the agriculture sector convened during the Town Hall Consultation on Women in Agriculture Breaking Barriers: Women and Everyone for Gender Equality Quezon City last March 27, 2023 to discuss the status of rural women in agriculture and the agency’s efforts towards gender equality and women empowerment.

The NWMC celebrations from 2023 to 2028 focus on the theme, “WE for Gender Equality and Inclusive Society,” with WE standing for “Women Empowerment” and “Women and Everyone.”

Winners of the 2022 DA Search for Outstanding Rural Women—namely, National Winner Dolores R. Ceralbo (Region 6), First Runner-up Leizel E. Grajo (Region 5), Second Runner-up Ma. Rio Luz A. Majadas (Region 8), Fourth Runner-up Jolenda F. Lomas-e (Cordillera Administrative Region), and Special Citation recipient Vilma B. Joson (Region 3)—shared their personal stories of struggles, sacrifices, and success as women farmer-leaders from rural areas with high poverty incidence.

The SORW 2022 winners narrated how their adaptability, ingenuity, and tenacity in the face of poverty, economic inflation, climate change, gender-based discrimination, and other issues—combined with support from the DA—led them to becoming major drivers of agricultural modernization and development, women empowerment, and food security not only in their respective communities but also throughout the country.

“Sa mga kababaihan, ‘wag tumigil sa pangarap dahil hindi hadlang ang kahirapan para maabot mo ang tagumpay,” Ceralbo expressed.

Dissertations on women in agriculture by select DA women-leaders were also featured and discussed during the Town Hall Consultation.

Delving into her case studies on gender impact assessments in remote and urban municipalities in La Union, DA Regional Field Office I Chief Administrative Officer Jacinta Marissa D. Olalan revealed the aging women populations in agriculture due to lack of opportunities as well as the DA’s interventions being mostly male-oriented in nature.

On the other hand, DA – Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards (BAFS) Director Karen Kristine A. Roscom analyzed the success stories of select women farmer-leaders in Central Luzon and CALABARZON Regions for her dissertation, noting that having the proper platforms in the form of farmers’ cooperatives and associations (FCAs) and the confidence to speak in public are important to women in agriculture.

For their policy recommendations, Olalan and Roscom raised the need for the DA to encourage the creation of and participation in women FCAs, institutionalize women leadership programs and recognition in agriculture, and continue sharing inspirational stories of women in agriculture.

Senator Loren B. Legarda, Senator Grace L. Poe, and Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) Executive Director Kristine Rosary E. Yuzon-Chaves through PCW Sectoral Coordination Division Chief Macario T. Jusayan expressed their support to the Department’s NWMC 2023 culminating activity while also highlighting the need for continuing, intensified, and unified efforts towards a gender-inclusive and responsive DA.

Assuring the Department’s commitment, Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFIDA) OIC-Executive Director Annray Villota-Rivera—who concurrently serves as Vice-Chairperson of the DA – Gender and Development Focal Point System (GFPS) and Program Director of the DA – Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI)—relayed good news that delegates from DA wowed world leaders with its services and initiatives geared for rural women during the 67th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women held from March 6 to 17, 2023 in New York.

She added that the Philippines is also set to host the Commission’s 68th Session next year.

Senior Undersecretary Domingo F. Panganiban concluded, through Assistant Secretary for Operations Arnel V. de Mesa, “Rest assured, as we bring to close the National Women’s Month this year, we will remain ever more alert in our pursuit of equality and opportunity so that all women may set new trails, pursue their goals, and reach their fullest potential.” ### (Krystelle Ymari A. Vergara, DA-AFID)

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