by Sheila Herradura Toreno

ILOILO CITY – Three outstanding rural women of Western Visayas were recognized during the Rural Women’s Day Celebration of the Department of Agriculture (DA) 6 on Oct. 18 at Punta Villa Resort and Convention Center, Iloilo City.

Concepcion Carillo, 53, of Brgy. Cairohan, Bingawan, Iloilo is this year’s most outstanding rural woman of the region. Cited by the municipal government as the Magsasakang Siyentista, Carillo is adopting the Sloping Agricultural Land Technology, sustainable, organic and integrating farming.

She owns the Kryz Vocational and Technical School and serves as cooperator of a learning site of the Agricultural Training Institute. She was also tapped by TESDA as assessor on organic agriculture production NC II. Carillo will talk on sustainable development and climate resilient society in an APEC gathering in Taiwan this October.

Carillo received a plaque of recognition with P30,000 cash prize and P50,000 worth of project grant.

Meanwhile, Josefina P. Tizo of Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental and Diana M. Nieves of San Jose, Antique emerged as first and second runner up in the Search for Outstanding Rural Women.

Themed “Juana: Agri Negosyo kag Turismo Kaupod Mo sa Pag-Asenso,” the rural women’s celebration here was graced by Cecilia de Asis, the national president of the Rural Improvement Club (RIC).

She urged the women participants to get involved in various development works and to venture into agribusiness.

“Farm tourism offers engaging economic activities to both foreign and local visitors. In October 2017, the Department of Tourism together with the DA and other government offices launched its ‘More Fun in the Philippines Farm Program’. To support this, some legislators promised to provide technical, financial and marketing assistance to farm owners who are interested to engage in agri tourism business,” said de Asis.

DA 6 Regional Executive Director Remelyn R. Recoter said “yearly, we recognize the outstanding rural women in terms of their contribution to the economy in their respective areas.”

She also added that the gender index of the Philippines is higher than that of other countries.

“This is because we have a lot of women who have seats in the legislation from the senate up to the barangay council. However, we have low rating in the gender development index among the rural women farmers and fisherfolk. Their contributions are sometimes not recognized. We hope that the government, the DA and other national line agencies and local government units will be able to recognize their contribution.”

Recoter added that the region is only 26 percent sufficient in lowland vegetables and six percent on upland vegetables.

“I am encouraging our rural women to continue producing vegetables even in a small backyard lot. We really need to catch up with the vegetables production for these are necessary commodities in increasing the nutritional status of our households. That’s a challenge to every Juana. The DA will provide the necessary interventions and extension activities so that our rural households will increase their nutritional status,” Recoter added.