Celebrating Women in Agriculture: ATI Opens Women's Month Celebration with Symposium

Quezon City Joy Belmonte speaking to the participants of ATI's Symposium for Women's Month (photo by Daniel S. Nilo)

QUEZON CITY – A total of 84 participants attended the opening of Women in Agriculture Symposium on March 1, 2017 as part of the Agricultural Training Institute’s week-long celebration of Women’s Month held at Rural Development and Education Center, ATI Building, Elliptical Road, Diliman, Quezon City.
Rural women comprised of farmers, Rural Improvement Club members and extension workers joined the event which celebrated their contribution to the development of the agriculture sector in the country.
Guests who also graced the event were ATI’s Deputy Director Alfredo S. Aton, Executive Director Jocelyn Alma R. Badiola of Agricultural Credit and Policy Council and Quezon City Vice Mayor Ma. Josefina G. Belmonte.
ATI’s OIC Director, Luz A. Taposok, who was not able to attend the event, relayed her message of support which was read by Deputy Director Aton: “As they played significant role in the wheel of progress of our nation, Rural Women will always be supported by ATI. This agency will provide geared up and vast opportunities and will remain steadfast in the delivery of development efforts and support for effective and efficient intervention on attaining sustained development in agriculture.”
Badiola, who was the Vice-Chair of the Gender and Development Program of the Department of Agriculture, also relayed the message of Undersecretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat in support to the event: “Part of the Department of Agriculture’s Gender and Development strategies includes providing women with entrepreneurial, managerial and operational training and support to start, run and grow their businesses. That is the role of ATI.”
As the Keynote Speaker, Quezon City Vice Mayor Belmonte expressed her support to the role of women in agriculture by stating that they are key partners of the government in agriculture programs like urban gardening.
“Food security is the reason why we do [urban garden] projects. We realize that in our city, hunger, malnutrition and under-nutrition are still persistent problems. We want to make food available to the households at any given time. We also want to boost local production especially that the food in our city is dependent in the rural areas which are also prone to calamities that affect food security. That is why we tapped women as partners who help attain this objective.” She reminded the participants of President Rodrigo Duterte’s “Change is coming.” She noted that “change has come” and challenged the women to keep the change. “Change pa more,” she remarked.
She shared her experiences as partner of the Department of Agriculture in Urban Farming. In 2010, the Quezon City government launched the “Joy of Urban Farming” which aimed to strengthen food security.
Vice Mayor Belmonte also voiced out her advocacy that empower women like her initiatives in Quezon City to establish a Protection Center for Women, Children and LGBT.
After the opening program, the participants together with the guests proceeded to the ATI Building’s lobby to witness the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and launching of agricultural booths of all the regions in the country. Agricultural products like fresh farm produce, processed food, home decorations and fashion items made from indigenous materials are showcased in these booths. These are the products of rural women and their respective women’s organizations.
The symposium will also hold free seminars on March 2, 2017 which will be attended by rural women and interested participants within Metro Manila who have pre-registered for the event. ATI’s Women’s Month Celebration is on February 28 – March 3, 2017.
(by Larry Illich N. Souribio)