Women in farming communities and leaders from various sectors of Philippine society recently joined an open dialogue on the role of women and their contribution in agriculture. Theme of exchange of ideas and experiences was “Women in Rice Farming”. The dialogue was one of various activities lined up for the celebration of the National Year of Rice 2013.
Among those who attended the program to share their experiences and insights were last year’s awardees in the search for outstanding women in rural development.
The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) along with the Philippine Department of Agriculture and the Philippine Commission on Women have joined efforts in advancing women’s role in fighting hunger and malnutrition and promoting environmental sustainability through research and technology development and improved farming practices.
Rice affects the lives of people, in particular the hundreds of millions living in rural areas around the country. Rice production provides staple food, livelihood and income for poor rice-farming communities.
The event also showcased to members of media and representatives of civil society organizations the research and development breakthroughs of IRRI in developing rice varieties that grow well in harsh conditions. Featured was its latest rice variety called “golden rice” which has been found to be rich in beta-carotene, iron and zinc.
In the Philippines, vitamin A deficiency affects approximately 1.7 million children and one out of every ten pregnant women. Golden rice variety shows a potential way to reduce malnutrition.
According to the United Nations Food Agriculture Organization, women play an important role in supporting their households and communities as well as in achieving food and nutrition security. They also contribute to the local economy through their agri-enterprises.