Written by the Web Team
The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the government, and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), recently honored women rice farmers for their valuable role in helping make the country self-sufficient in food.
This was done through the holding of the first “Women in Rice Farming” open dialogue and exhibit hosted by IRRI, the Department of Agriculture (DA) together with PhilRice, and the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), on Aug. 8 at the IRRI Headquarters in Los Baños, Laguna.
Women farmers, scientists, experts, and leaders from various sectors attended the landmark event.
The “Women in Rice Farming” is one of the highlights of the National Year of Rice 2013, and highlights the contribution and role of women to rice production; from rice cultivation down to post-harvest processing and marketing.
Based on the studies of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 25% of the total female population in the Philippines is engaged in rice farming, and every year, the ratio is increasing by up to 1.2 percent. Filipino women have high participation in planting, weeding, input and fertilizer application, paddy cultivation, harvesting, threshing and milling, up to the marketing of rice.
According to DA Undersecretary for Special Concerns Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, the Filipino women’s role in farming and food security must never be overlooked, and must be valued.
“As they constitute an integral part of the rice industry in Philippines and in recognition of their importance in agriculture, the DA annually gives recognition to outstanding women in the field,” she added.
Emmeline Verzosa, PCW executive director, said that the event helped recognize women-specific needs and opportunities in rice production and food security.
She added that PCW will got hand-in-hand with the government in creating new paradigms for women, and further promotion of the participation of women in rice farming by building their capacities and expanding their potentials, all but for one goal: food security.
The event featured the photo exhibit on “Women in Rice Farming” and marketplace presentations that displayed exhibits on rice breeding, rice research, grain quality, and the benefits of healthier rice.
A Riceworld Museum tour, field tour, and viewing of various women-friendly machines were also conducted during the event.
The event was sealed by an open forum where aspects of food security were discussed along with the guests, scientists, and researchers.