Considered as the backbone of sustainable livelihood, rural women contribute in the attainment of food security and the country’s sustainable development goals. The Department of Agriculture (DA) recognizes their efforts in the quest to end poverty and hunger and promote food nutrition.
Around 260 women farmers from the provinces of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, and Iloilo gathered for the Regional Rural Women’s Month Celebration organized by the Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Field Office 6 on October 24-25 at Punta Villa Resort, Arevalo, Iloilo City.
Themed “Babaye, Katuwang sa Pagbag-o Para sa Kauswagan”, the activity was aimed at enabling women’s ingenuity and resourcefulness towards the improvement of rural life.
“We celebrate the International Rural Women’s Day every October 15 to recognize the efforts of the women especially in the agricultural and rural development and in ensuring food security in the community,” said DA 6 Regional Executive Director Remelyn R. Recoter.
DA and other government agencies allocates five percent of its total budget for the Gender and Development (GAD) Program. “Through the GAD Focal Point System in DA and its attached bureaus and agencies, we are committed to provide the five percent fund for the operations and implementation of projects for women,” added Recoter.
She also mentioned that the DA coordinates and partners with the different Rural Based Organization especially the Rural Improvement Clubs (RICs) in implementing projects and services for women empowerment.
“The DA promotes equal development opportunities for both men and women as an imperative and practical necessity for the viability and sustainability of rural development,” cited Lorna Villegas, DA Central Office Gender and Development Head Secretariat.
DA Region 12 Regional Technical Director for Field Operations Fe Ybañez encouraged rural women to look into farming as a business. She also added that rural women are now given equal access to education, credit, training and other government intervention, thus making their roles very critical in advancing the agricultural economy.
On the otherhand, Melodie Buendia, program coordinator of Philippines Good Return, enumerates the necessities of financial management to improve the economic status of rural women. Salient features of the Republic Act 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women and RA 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004 were discussed by Atty. Ma. Nazelle Infante of the Iloilo City’s Prosecutors Office.
Dir. Recoter also awarded the regional winner for the Search for Outstanding Rural Women. Lea Deala, an integrated farmer from Brgy. Tinocuan, Dingle received a plaque, P30,000 cash prize and P50,000 worth of project grant from the DA.
The (RICs) of the five provinces displayed various agricultural products and handicrafts in the two-day Agri Trade Fair and Exhibit. RIC members in Guimaras generated the highest sales inventory, thus awarded with P10,000 cash and a set of microwave oven with cooking utensils.
The rural women also had the chance to show off their talents in a group cultural presentation. And it was the competing group from the Province of Aklan who emerged as champion in the contest and received P10,000 cash and a set of pasta maker with double burner and cooking utensils.# (Sheila Toreno/DA6Information)