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)