ASEAN Member States Strategize for Development of Women in Agriculture

Assisted by an English interpreter, a guest speaker from Japan talks about entrepreneurship for women in agriculture as part of the lecture series during the workshop.

DILIMAN, Quezon City—To promote gender sensitivity and provide entrepreneurial opportunities for women in agriculture, officials from the Ministries of Agriculture from Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Japan gathered for a three-day Workshop on Improving and Mainstreaming Gender in Agricultural Sector.

“Gender sensitivity is vital in attaining rural development. It entails the equal contribution of both men and women as agents of economic, social, and political change. Therefore, it is necessary for us, ASEAN Member States, to hold hands and support each other in our pursuit to advance together,” Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) Director Alfredo Aton said.

Aton serves as the national focal point of the Project for Strengthening Capacity Building in Agriculture Sector in ASEAN Countries Phase 3 (CB Project 3) of Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. He further stressed the role of the ASEAN Member States (AMS) "to provide and enable equal access to education, information, and opportunities for women to further improve themselves.”

A series of lectures from resource speakers from Japan, including the Japan-ASEAN Goodwill Ambassador on Food and Agriculture, highlighted the activity. Topics include women’s entrepreneurship involving local agriculture, women’s economic independence, challenges faced by women in Japan’s agriculture, and preparation of snacks using rice flour which was done with hands-on demonstration.

The activity capped off with a sharing of action plan implementation in the seven AMS represented and a workshop on designing a gender-sensitive training course for ASEAN. Prior to these sessions, the delegates visited the Joyful Garden Farm and Paaralang Elementarya ng Anyatam in San Ildefonso, Bulacan where they interviewed farm workers and distributed food to local children, respectively.

The workshop served as a follow-through activity for a related training course in 2018. It provided the delegates an avenue to share the application of their learning from the previous program as well as talk about the needs of their own agricultural sectors in their countries.

The ASEAN Secretariat, through Masao Koga and Nathaya Mahasadhu Anandipa, led the activity in collaboration with the Japan MAFF and ATI. Also present in the activity were ATI-Career Development and Management Division (CDMD) Chief and CB Project 3 alternate focal point Editha Vinuya and CDMD-Training and Curriculum Development Section Chief Theresa Aurora Cosico.

The workshop was held at the ATI-Rural Development and Education Center last February 25-27.

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