DA: Rural women essential to agri growth, development
by Sherwin B. Manual
Davao City (19 October) -- Rural women in Mindanao are as multitasked as their urban counterparts.
In the accomplishment report to the World Bank in the currently conducted 5th review mission, Department of Agriculture's (DA) Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP) noted that rural women are getting more involved in economic activities particularly in agriculture far from the old notion that they are supposed to be home-based.
"Rural women nowadays are not just homebound, they are crucial to the growth, expansion and development of agriculture," said program director Lealyn A. Ramos.
Ramos said women account 41.67 percent or 15,949 of the 38,266 total beneficiaries of the program's agri-based livelihood projects.
"Women are involved in various levels of agricultural economy. Aside from their participation in planting and caring of crops and marine produce, they are also involved in processing and marketing, ensuring that indeed their products result to income," said Ramos, who is also the region executive director of DA-10 (Northern Mindanao).
Implemented under the Community Fund for Agricultural Development (CFAD) component, food security projects and community managed livelihoods included production of banana, vegetable, abaca and rubber; dispersal of carabao and horse for land preparation, product hauling and other farm activities; procurement of vehicles for marketing; processing of crops and marine products; and small infrastructures like footbridge, mechanical dryer, solar dryer and warehouses.
CFAD has spent a total of P161 million for the total of 681 projects. A total of P121.94 million worth of projects have been completed and the rest is on-going.
"To date, the program has surpassed our target of women beneficiaries and we are expecting more women to be actively involved in agri-based enterprise," Ramos said.
MRDP aimed to benefit at least 30 percent of women and indigenous peoples by end of program implementation in 2012.
"On top of their household chores of preparing the children to school and ensuring proper food and nutrition at home, by engaging in productive activities rural women take part increasing income of their family," Ramos said.
Melani Rosauro, a beneficiary from Sta. Josefa Agusan del Sur said their family income increased when both she and her husband involved in the vegetable production of the Awao High-value vegetable Growers' Association.
"Our association consolidates theharvest but each member works on individually owned farms. I work hand in hand with my husband who does the hard labor of land preparation. I help in the planting and caring of the plants... and we (women members) are the ones assigned in marketing (our produce) to nearby towns," Rosauro said.
Meanwhile, Letecia Ampong of Kumalarang, Zamboanga del Sur said her income from their women cooperative that processes camote (sweet potato) to candy bars has augmented her family's income.
"Women today share in the providing for the needs of the family. And this will ensure that there is food in their tables," Ramos said.
Now on its second phase, MRDP is a long-term poverty alleviation initiative implemented by DA with a US$83.752 million funding loan portfolio from World Bank plus addition equity of the national and local government units. (DA-MRDP) [top]