The Search is on for the 2024 Outstanding Rural Women!

2023 Outstanding Rural Woman of Bicol hits the jackpot in hybrid corn production

SAN AGUSTIN, PILI, CAMARINES SUR – A 62-year old farmer and chieftain of Agta Tabangnon Tribe in San Vicente, Buhi, Camarines Sur is this year’s regional winner in the Search for Outstanding Rural Woman or Katangi-tanging Kababaihan sa Kanayunan in Bicol.

Vilma Coronel received the P50,000 cash award on September 13, 2023 during the simple awarding ceremony held at the PMED Audio Visual Room at DA Compound.

Coronel cultivates a 2.9–hectare integrated farm where she grows rice, corn, vegetables and coconut. She also processes coconut husk into different products like ropes and plant holders. But the major income earner on her farm is her hybrid corn. Just recently, she harvested 220 sacks of dried hybrid corn (at 50 kilos per sack) from her 1.3-hectare corn area which she sold at P18.00 per kilo in a local comprada. Hence, she earned a gross sales of P198,000.00. Based on her harvest, her average yield is 8.46 MT/hectare which is a far cry from the 2022 regional average yield of 3.92 MT/Ha.

She was teary-eyed during the awarding as she admitted that it was her first time to be recognized for an award. “Bilang leader po ako ng tribo, ngayon lang ako nakaranas ng ganitong patimpalak, May karapatan din po pala kami bilang tribo. Dae ko po talaga malilingawan an tabang kan DA dahil halos gabos po na pangangaipo nyamo, hali po igdi sa DA region 5 saka sa LGU ng Buhi. Dae po matatawaran an tabang nindo samo. Lalo na pag may mga kalamidad, yaon po tulos an pag responde ninda,” she said.

She thanked DA Bicol Regional Executive Director Rodel P. Tornilla, GAD focal person Aloha Gigi Banaria and other DA staff for the support extended to her.

Meanwhile, the 1st runner-up was Mercy M. Bajado of Bula, Cam. Sur. She received P30,000. The 2nd runner up was Judith Tolledo of Gigmoto, Catanduanes. Tolledo received P20,000. She was accompanied by Mayor Vicente Tayam of Gigmoto. Gilda B. Rafer of San Vicente, Cam. Norte and Maria Luz Barcelon of Daraga Albay received P5,000 consolation prizes plus garden tools.

Coronel is Bicol Region’s contender to the National Search for Outstanding Rural Women and she was one of the seven contenders who qualified for the national competition.Aloha Gigi I. Banaria, GAD focal person, said that the search for Outstanding Rural Woman is an annual undertaking to recognize the efforts and contributions of rural women in nation building. She added that another awarding ceremony will be held in Sonrisa Farm in Magarao, Cam. Sur on October 12, 2023.

Mayor Vicente Tayam of Gigmoto thanked the DA. “Natawan importansya an kahigusan kan mga kababaihan, lalo na ang mga IPs. Sana padagos pa an arog kaining programa….Kan mga naka-aging aldaw may nag-abot samuya pirang trucks nin abono kaya an bilog na paraoma kan Gigmoto, maugmahon. Willing kaming mag receive kan gabos na programa kan DA,” added Mayor Tayam.

The awarding was graced by Regional Technical Director for Operations Luz R. Marcelino; 2017 Outstanding Rural Woman and RAFC Sectoral Committee Chairperson on Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) Rebecca S. Purisima; members of DA 5 GAD focal system including representatives from BFAR, ATI, and PhilFIDA. (Lovella P. Guarin – RAFIS 5) (Photos by Eduardo Collantes, Jr. and Hermito Privaldos)

Catanduanes strawberry farmer wins National Outstanding Rural Woman 2021 award
QUEZON CITY – The Bicol Region took center stage once again as a 28-year old strawberry farm owner from Catanduanes was hailed as the grand winner in the 2021 DA’s Search for National Outstanding Rural Women. The award was dubbed as “Gawad Parangal sa Katangi-tanging Kababaihan sa Pagsasaka at Pangingisda sa Kanayunan.”
Cristina Torreda, Bicol’s contender to the search is only 28 years old but she was able to establish a flourishing strawberry farm in San Andres, Catanduanes – a typhoon-prone island known as the Land of the Howling Wind.
The awarding ceremony was held at the BSWM on December 2, 2021, where Torreda received a plaque of recognition and a P150,000.00 cash award from the DA.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar, in his recorded keynote speech, recognized Torreda’s resiliency amidst adversities which sets her apart from the 11 other nominees from the other regions of the country.
Torreda started her strawberry farm in San Andres, Catanduanes in 2018 using a mere P15,000 personal loan she spent on her original 130 mother plants. Today, her 1.5 hectares “Cristina’s Strawberry Farm” is now teeming with different varieties of strawberries, blueberry, mulberry, raspberry, pomegranate, lettuce, dragon fruits and lowland vegetables. Hydroponics technology sustains her year-round production. Local and foreign tourists keep coming back to enjoy picking berries and making their own fresh salad. The strawberry farm also accommodates overnight stay for photoshoot and camping.
During the awarding ceremony, Undersecretary of High Value Crops and Rural Credit Evelyn Laviña, who is also the chair of both the DA Gender and Development (GAD) focal point system and the award’s board of judges, was joined by Commissioner Sandra Sanchez Montano, Chairperson Phil. Commission on Women, and Deputy Executive Director Annray V. Rivera Program Director of Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI).
“The search is a fitting tribute to remind our womenfolk in agriculture and fishery how valuable and precious they are not only to the DA but also to the entire country,” Laviña said.
The annual search aims to recognize the role of women in food production that contributes to food security, reduction of hunger and malnutrition and poverty as enshrined in the RA 9710 (Magna Carta of women).
The evaluation of the credentials of the nominees was done virtually with the stories of the nominees in their written profiles and video presentations.
The National Technical Committee was composed of high caliber heads/representatives of East-West Seed, Food and Agriculture Organization, Landbank of the Philippines, Pambansang Koalisyon ng Kababaihan, Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards, and Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation. They evaluated the nominees based on three criteria: 30% contribution to food security and agricultural development; 30% contribution to sustainable development; 40% impact to rural development
According to the guidelines, the DA regional field offices will also grant the Outstanding Rural Women winners with projects that could enhance their agribusiness undertaking in the form of production inputs, production or postharvest machineries, equipment and facilities.
The awarding rites was attended by the National Technical Committee members and DA GAD focal persons of all the regions. Bicol region was represented by DA 5 GAD focal person Aloha Gigi I. Bañaria. (Lovella P. Guarin – RAFIS 5)

DA Honors Outstanding Rural Women

PASAY CITY – The Department of Agriculture honors the outstanding women in agriculture who have demonstrated excellence in their agri-based undertakings which uplifted not only their families but the community as well. In a simple but meaningful ceremonies, the top six national finalists selected from the 15 regional winners were conferred trophies, plaques and a total of P355,000 cash prizes. This year’s top three Outstanding Rural Women are, Evelyn Alegado-Grace of barangay Lauis, Candelaria, Zambales ; Evangeline Asistado-Novela of Cadalian, Baguio District , Davao City and Josephine Gandol Artiaga of Bulawan Sr., Lupi Camarines Sur . DA undersecretary for High Value Crops and Rural Credit and concurrently the chairperson of the Gender and Development (GAD) Focal Point System conferred the awards, on December 7, 2018 at the Philippine Convention Center

Evelyn Grace, the grand winner received a cash prize of P150,00 and an additional prize in the form of production inputs, farm machinery and postharvest facility. Evangeline Novela and Josephione Artiaga , 1st and 2nd runner up received P100,000 and P75,000 cash prize respectively. Consolation prize of P10,000 each was given to Evelyn Agtarap Duldulao of poblacion, Luna, Luna, Apayao; Francisca-Somejo-Rimalos of Bgy. Tapel, Gonzaga, Cagayan and Susana Villanca-Arcenal of Tinago, Talisay, Daanbantayan, Cebu.

Grace was cited for being outstanding not only in the field of agriculture, environment conservation and protection but also exemplary in community service and in promoting advocacies such as women empowerment and rural development. She personally oversees the management of the three-hectare farm where they produce rice, mango and vegetables and an agro-forest area where cashew, tamarind and ginger are intercropped with agro-forest trees. Harvested fruits are processed to add value. From all these she earned a gross income of about P3millin with a 49.91% ROI in 2017.

Novela is engaged in dairy production and selling male offspring. Aside from raising cattle, the family was able to attain a gross income of P1.07 million from their coconut, cacao, guyabano, mangosteen, red pepper and ginger acquiring a total ROI of 224%. As a woman leader, she was instrumental in buying the lot where the Farmers Development Cooperative was established and she also facilitated the P1million loan from government, as well as the acquisition of the lot where the milk collection center of Cadalian Dairy Farmers Coop now stands.

Artiaga on the other hand is proof that perseverance, hard work and being open to new things can make a big difference to one’s life. For 20 years she worked overseas as domestic helper to help her family and support the education of her siblings. She was an active crusader of migrants rights. In 2011 she decided to go home to take care of her ailing parents. She then ventured into farming. Using her savings she developed the one hectare hilly land along the highway of Lupi into an integrated diversified organic farm now known as St. Francis St. Rita Nature Farm. It has become the first certified organic farm in the province. Her farm which she personally manage is into commercial production of organically certified swine as well as native pigs, which are sold as breeder or roasted organic lechon. She is an active member of various civic and agri- organizations in her municipality.

Agriculture secretary Pinol in his message read by Usec. Lavina said that the DA is continuously retooling its system and making headway to level the playing field for men and women.

Usec, Lavina for her part underscored that the DA is striving to be inclusive – to cater to all; the producers, the consumers, the traders and other players. She disclosed that the DA- GAD system is working out that the 5% budget allocated for GAD from the various programs of the government but appropriated equitably that is, 2% to be used for GAD focused projects and 3% on attribution.

She commended the winners and thanked the people behind the Annual Search for the Outstanding Rural Women in Agriculture. She made special mention and requested the audience to applaud of the Bicol women team headed by Aloha Gigi Banaria, the DA-GAD regional focal person for working very hard in all their undertakings. Since the conferment of this prestigious National Award, the Bicol region has produced 3 national grand winners which had gained recognition even internationally. Last year the grand prize winner was Rebecca Sanchez Purisima a tribal chieftain from Tigaon, Camarines Sur who also represented the Philippine in APECS’s Women in Agriculture and Fisheries (WiAF) Dialogue in Papua New Guinea. Purisima was also invited during this year’s awarding ceremony who have inspirational message. Yearly Bicol’s regional winner in this search is always in the top three. (Emily B. Bordado- DA-RAFIS 5)

Budding Bicol Rural women  entrepreneurs  primed  on product development

NAGA CITY – To capacitate budding and potential  rural women agri- entrepreneurs the Department of Agriculture Bicol in partnership with the  Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) once more gathered  about 26 women entrepreneurs and  engaged in food and non-food  small enterprise for entrepreneurial training and product assessment.  This is one of the activities under the Gender  Responsive Economic  Action for Transformation or GREAT Women Project, Phase 2  funded by the Canadian government.

Twenty six  individual and  rural women’s organization were invited  to take  part in this year’s activity held in one of the hotels in this city on  June 14 and 15.  Of the 26 participants,  16 of which are  first timers while 10 of them were already  part of the first batch  which enrolled already  with the project and have already  business  contracts with various partners after being assisted by the GREAT Women project.

The first day was  devoted for  entrepreneurial training and industry update and the second day was  for product assessment.   Mary Grace Rodriguez, OIC Chief of the DA Regional Operations Division, who represented Regional Executive Director, Dr. Elena de los Santos  underscored the importance of  capacitating our agri- entrepreneurs in the light of the ASEAN  Integration.   She   enumerated the five important  elements in any business enterprise  which are: product quality, quantity, price, reliability and networking.    She also stressed the importance of value chain analysis before going into any business to determine the gaps.

Kathleen Aquino, Planning Officer 1V of the PCM discussed the overview and objectives of the activity.  Reena Francisco , owner of ECHOSI store in Makati  and founder of ECHOSI foundation  discussed the current trends and food innovations s in local and global market.   She shared that the food trend now is geared towards health and wellness  thus, there is a big demand for what is fresh, natural, healthy and environmentally safe products and packaging.

She  added that to be competitive an entrepreneurs must not only improve  their   product but must do them  differently. On top of the list of food  commodities in big demand in fresh or processed form  is mushroom followed by ginger, peanut butter, banana, dried  pineapple, cacao, pickled vegetables, cassava, chili garlic, sea weeds, goto kola, dried fish/seafood and fruit wines and spirits

Meanwhile,  Zarah Juan , owner of Estudio Juan  tackled the topic on “Partnerships among government agencies, private sector partners and  women entrepreneurs  products.”  She also   discussed the  trends or market demands in non-food commodities the most in demand of which are  bamboo, abaca bungkuan, water hyacinth among others.

Chef  Jam Melchor of the Philippine Culinary Heritage Movement  conducted  a cooking demo  on various Filipino dishes like marinated porkchop, mushroom pancit and tofu sisig  using the products brought by the participants.

The 2nd day was devoted to individual product assessment done by the market and product experts  from  Manila.  According to Aloha Gigi Bañaria, DA Bicol Regional Gender and Development (GAD) Focal person and Chief of the Planning and Monitoring Division, this activity  could result to  improved products  and may eventually  lead to  market agreements,  product promotion  and  securing  contract  just like what happened   after  the product assessment for the  batch of women  entrepreneurs  in 2016. Bernadette de los Santos of Bidibidi Enterprise  based in Baao, Camarines Sur  has now 2 shops  in Palawan and displays her products at the Avenue Plaza Hotel.  Karen Arellano, president of Nasipit Rural Improvement Club in Sorsogon City has signed a contract with Citimalls to supply coco jam and atchara  to all their branches.  The Labo Progressive Multipurpose cooperative  on the other hand  had clinched a multi-million peso contract with two state universities in Bicol to supply Salampay  fabric for the graduating students.  Meanwhile, Adel  Magsino of  Goa, Camarines Sur  has tied up with the Central Bicol State University of Agriculture  for the development of her mushroom crunch products.  (Emily B. Bordado/DA-RAFISV)

Orientation Seminar on Credit Scheme/Livelihood Assistance and Financial Literacy held

The Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office  V through the Gender Responsive Economic Actions for the Transformation of Women Project 2 (GWP2) conducted the two day Orientation Seminar on  Credit Scheme/Livelihood Assistance and Financial Literacy last February 27-28, 2018 at Villa Caceres Hotel, Naga City.  The seminar was participated in by 26 GREAT Women Project beneficiaries, outstanding rural women awardees, and other aspiring micro entrepreneurs from the six provinces of Bicol.

The GREAT Women Project 2 is a collaborative project of DA RFO5 and the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW)  and funded by the Government of Canada which focuses on the competitiveness and sustainability of women’s enterprises.  The project beneficiaries are mostly rural women entrepreneurs and leaders of active Rural Improvement Clubs (RICs) who still need to enhance their skills in handling financial resources and increase awareness on availing  livelihood assistance from government lending institutions (NGAs, banks and others).

The orientation seminar was conducted to increase the awareness of the women entrepreneurs on how to efficiently manage their personal as well as their business finances, gain knowledge on the different credit schemes and livelihood assistance provided by National Government Agencies (NGAs), banks and other credit facilities, and learn the effective strategies on financial management in order to sustain enterprise development.

Technical staff from the different NGAs, banks, and cooperative were tapped as resource speakers for the activity. In line with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) advocacy on consumer protection and financial literacy, Mr. Keith Eduard Hidalgo, Senior Research Specialist of BSP-Naga Branch shared and discussed topics on Savings and Budgeting, Debt Management, Investments and Common Financial Fraud/Scams. He gave important tips to the women participants on how to enhance their skills and manage their finances to attain financial empowerment. He also emphasized to make savings a habit. In addition, the speaker discussed the security features of the Philippine bills and taught the women on how to detect fake bills.

Representatives from the NGAs and government banks who served as resource speakers during the 2 day seminar also shared the respective services that can be availed of by  women micro entrepreneurs. Mr. Charlemagne Abarca, Accounts Management Specialist of the Development Bank of the Phil. (DBP) Camarines Sur Lending Center informed the women of their ILAW Program which is a business loan program for women. Ms. Jhoan Salcedo, Accounts Officer of the Land Bank of the Philippines Camarines Lending Center discussed the various credit assistance programs being implemented by their office. The varied financing programs of LBP are mostly agriculture in nature, from crops, livestock, fisheries, agri-mechanization, climate resilient agriculture and farm school.

The General Manager of the CamSur Multi Purpose Cooperative, Ms. Annielen Panerio discussed the topic “Know Your Money: Are You Earning or Losing?”. She started with her lecture on understanding money mindset and later discussed the ways on how to build wealth and financial discipline. Included in her lecture was the discussion of a simple computation for income statement which indicates if one is earning or losing.

The Chief Accounts Specialist of Small Business Corporation, Naga Desk Office, Ms. Ma. Edena Diez presented the Pondo sa Pagbabago Program (P3) which offers an alternative lending scheme for the micro finance sector. This has an initial funding of P1 Billion allocation which shall be administered through its wholesale program based on simplified evaluation and documentation.  She also mentioned that 60% of the business inventory and  80% of its receivables can be applied for loan at the SB Corporation. Ms. Cecilia Andalis, Labor and Employment Officer III of the Department of Labor and Employment, Camarines Sur also discussed the different livelihood assistance programs of Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). All the resource persons with financing programs discussed the respective qualification criteria and documentary requirements of their programs.

The women participants were very happy that through the orientation seminar they were informed  of the different services especially the financing programs provided by the different NGAs and banks where they can avail of affordable loans to help in the sustainability of their enterprises. They realized that there are many financing assistance program to choose from.

The participants also enjoyed the lectures and topics discussed by the competent resource speakers. One important point that was given emphasis by almost all speakers that an entrepreneur should have is the entrepreneurial mentality represented by the equation: INCOME – SAVINGS = EXPENSES. Another important point shared  during the seminar is that borrowing money is not a bad idea only if it is used to expand business and acquire more income.

Financial education is the way to achieve financial literacy. It helps people especially the entrepreneurs develop confidence to make informed choices, to be more aware of financial opportunities and risks, know where to go for help and to take effective action to improve financial well-being. (M.V. Ayo)


Bicol rural women market week 2017 

December 14, 2017

NAGA CITY – To showcase the best products of Bicol rural women entrepreneurs and to heighten awareness on various women’s livelihood projects and the various interventions and assistance available for women , the Department of Agriculture in partnership with the Camarines Sur Multipurpose Cooperative and the Philippine Commission for Women conducted the 1st Bicol Women Market Week in this city from November 30 to December, 2017.

According to Aloha Gigi Bañaria, Chief of the Planning and Monitoring Division of the Department of Agriculture Bicol and focal person of the Gender and Development (GAD) Program said activity was in line with the DA’s GAD program to empower and bring the rural women into the mainstream of development. She explains that the Philippine Commission for Women through its GREAT Women Project 2 funded by the Canadian Government has engaged the Rural Improvement Clubs of Bicol to participate in its livelihood projects after noting the viability and success of the micro enterprises of these groups.

Thirty two women’s groups and individual entrepreneurs participated in this activity which also featured discussions/presentation of various topics by successful and multi-awarded women leaders engaged in micro agri -enterprises. Among them were: Luzviminda T. Oropesa National Outstanding Rural Women2015; Cerena V. Arellano, 2nd place, National Outstanding Rural Women 2016, Myrna Acayen, National Outstanding Rural Women 2012 and International Model Farmer Awardee cited by the FAO.; Bernadette de los Santos., 2nd place National Outstanding Rural Women 2008 and currently president of Bicol GREAT Women; Adelia Q. Magsino, 2nd place National Outstanding Rural Women 2013 and; Rebecca S. Purisima, National Finalist , National Outstanding Rural Women 2017
Luzviminda Villanueva, Project Manager of the GREAT Women Project 2 personally graced the opening ceremonies and delivered a message. She said that the challenge for the project is to make the micro- enterpises of women “lumago at maging sustainable and be competitive”. She happily announced that the Women Economic Empowerment of the Philippines is regarded as a project mode for the world.
She noted that while private sectors and organizations are actively supporting women’s group to make them economically empower many government assistance for women are not reaching or unknown to most of the women. She thus, urged women’s group to approach the various agencies for assistance. She also admonished the women to also approach successful entrepreneurs as they are great mentors. She also urged them to continue the fire, the energy and enthusiasm to alleviate themselves.

Meanwhile , DA Bicol Regional Executive Director Elena B. de los Santos , represented by Emily B. Bordado, the chief of the information office extended her thanks to the Bicol rural participants for continuously advancing the cause and advocacies of the women. She said that the market event also serves a venue for sharing experiences and good practices among women entrepreneurs as they themselves were the resource persons during the symposium. Bordado also underscored that the Bicol women are already so empowered and their products are proof of their innovativeness, creativity and dynamism. But they need support in the promotion and marketing of their products.

Also present during the Opening program were; Atty Ma. Lourdes P. Pacao, regional director of the Cooperative Development Authority; Annielen L. Panerio, manager, MPC and Eudeza Racadag, chairperson MPC; Luz Marcelino , chief, Research Division and Rosita Imperial, OIC chief, Regulatory Division also of the DA who are also members of the DA-5 GAD Focal System, and Jeanette de Vera, Mall Manager of SM city, the venue for said event. (Emily B. Bordado)


Bicolana chieftain and farmer-entrepreneur won the 2017 National Outstanding Rural Woman award

December 14, 2017

QUEZON CITY – Rebecca Sanchez-Purisima, a Bicolana chieftain of Agta Tabangnon tribe in Tigaon, Camarines Sur was hailed as 2017 National Outstanding Rural Woman during the awarding ceremony of the Department of Agriculture’s Gawad Parangal sa Katangi-tanging Kababaihan sa Pagsasaka at Pangingisda sa Kanayunan held at the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) this city on December 7, 2017.

Purisima received a cash prize of P150,000 and plaque. The winning agricultural extension worker will also receive P25,000. She was accompanied on the stage by her husband Bayani; DA Bicol Regional Executive Director Elena B. delos Santos; Mayor Pamela Fuentebella of Tigaon, Camarines Sur; and DA Bicol GAD focal person Aloha Gigi I. Banaria.

Out of the 14 nominees from the DA regional field offices, eight finalists were selected to receive cash prizes, plaques and trophies. First runner up Vivian Taniza of Isabela (Region 2) received P100,000 cash prize. Second runner up Lilibeth Galendez of Bukidnon (region 10) received P75,000 cash awards. The other five finalists received P10,000 consolation prizes.

DA Undersecretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat, Usec for Agribusiness, Marketing and Regional Engagement and Chairperson of DA GAD focal system said that since 2003 when the search started, the Bicol region coveted the top award six times already. “Ano ba ang nasa Bicol at laging nananalo?” She enthused during her keynote speech.

Usec Puyat reported that the GAD funds utilization by the DA regional offices, bureaus and attached agencies in 2016 is 9.64% which is higher than the mandated 5% requirement. To empower women in the rural areas, the DA implements easy access financing programs, provides insurance to farmers in high risk areas, and promote women’s access to climate resilient information technology through the National Color Coded Agriculture Guide Map which can be accessed in the internet.

Philippine Commission on Women Executive Director Emmeline Versoza who is also one of the board of judges imparted an inspiring message during the awarding. She said that an excellent and inspiring woman has clear mind, big heart, high EQ and knows how to care for herself. An enterprising woman can be successful if she cares for the environment, she added. “Saan ka man nakatanim, let your light shine and be a blessing.”

Also present during the awarding ceremony were Usec. for Special Concerns Atty. Ranibai Dilangalen; Assistant Secretary for Administration Roldan G. Gorgonio; MIMAROPA Regional Executive Director Antonio Gerundio; Agricultural Credit Policy Council director Jocelyn Alma R. Badiola.

In her speech, Rebecca Purisima stressed that she is very proud to be a woman farmer. She thanked Sec. Manny F. Pinol for implementing various programs supporting the women and farmers like her. She also thanked the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) for the trainings she has undertaken which she was also able to share with her tribe. The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) that provided her the land they are now tilling under the CARP was also mentioned. She also thanked the Local Government Unit of Tigaon for the full support to her endeavors. She advised other farmers to convert to organic farming to be successful and to be able to compete with other ASEAN countries. One hectare of her farm which is planted to rice and fruit bearing trees is certified Organic by the OCCP, while another one hectare planted with corn, vegetables and herbs and spices is Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certified. (Lovella P. Guarin)


Bicol women micro-entrepreneurs  visit GREAT Women projects  in Nueva Ecija

August 11, 2017

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)