A 15- women delegation from Bicol composed of outstanding Rural Improvement Club (RIC) leaders ,micro-entrepreneurs and members of Regional Project Management Team (RPMT) and secretariat of the Great Women Project 2 visited projects in Nueva Ecija. They had the opportunity to observe and have a hands-on experience in processing of selected commodities using the Multi-Commodity Solar Tunnel Dryer (MCSTD) and also exchange knowledge and good practices as micro entrepreneurs with their fellow women. This was held on August 1-4, at the Central Luzon State University Alumni Hostel.
This activity was undertaken by the Department of Agriculture Bicol in partnership with the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (Philmech ) as implementing agencies of the Gender Responsive Economic Action for Transformation of Women (GREAT Women) project 2. Said project according to Aloha Gigi Bañaria , DA Bicol ‘s chief of the Planning and Monitoring Division and Regional GAD Focal Person aims to improve the productivity and competitiveness and sustainability of women enterprises. The Philippine Commission on Women provides support and oversees the implementation of this project.
Bañaria led the Bicol delegation which included leaders of women groups engaged in medium enterprises and enrolled in the GREAT Women Project. They were joined by their counterparts from Region 2, and members of the Rural Improvement Club of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija and some staff of the City Agriculturists office .
The group was welcomed by Raul Arpas , PhilMech Deputy Director and Dr. Helen Martinez , ECES project leader who also discussed about the features and uses of the MCSTD and the various experiences of its beneficiaries and adopters.
The group then visited successful women projects such as the fruits and vegetable processing project of the Kababaihang Masigla ng Nueva Ecija (KMNE) , headed by its president Vilma Joson who gave lecture and tips about their enterprise; the mushroom noodles and chicharon and other products of the Parista, Barangay Defense System Multi-Purpose Cooperative ; and the turmeric tea processing of the Canossian Daugthers of Charity.
The participants were also toured around the Science City of Muñoz where many agricultural institutions are based such as the PhilMech, PHilRice, Philippine Carabao and the Fruits and Vegetables Seeds Center. As an output of the activity the participants prepared their re-entry plans.
The Bicol delegation include: Luzviminda Oropesa, president of Happy Farmers Food Products, Inc. based in Catanduanes; Carena Arellano, president, Nasipit RIC of Irosin, Sorsogon ; Bernadette de los Santos, president , Baao RIC and Burda Initiatives Inc; Adel Magsino, president, Napawon RIC Goa, Camarines Sur; Rebecca Purisima , president, Tinawagan RIC , in Tigaon also of Camarines Sur; Narie Asuncion, president, Cabitan RIC in Mandaon, Masbate; Josephine Artiaga, president, Lupi Organic Farmers and Agribusiness Association and Lorna Daud, owner, Yulaik Foods and Beverages of Naga City.
The DA staff included Emilia Bordado, Chief ,Regional Agriculture & Fisheries Information Section and member of the RPMT; Ma. Bella Ilan, representing Luz, Marcelino, chief of the research division who was also an RPMT member; Marilene Dimaculangan, representing Rosita Imperial, HVCDP coordinator and also an RPMT member; Gladys Regondola, Maria Vivian Ayo and Raymond Tapel members of the GWP secretariat/staff . ( EBBordado)