PHL calls for Stronger Role for Women, Increased Sustainability in Agriculture
11 February 2014 – The Philippines participated for the first time in the 6th Berlin Agriculture Ministers’ Summit and Global Forum on Food and Agriculture (GFFA), which took place from January 16 to 18.
Department of Agriculture Undersecretary for Special Concerns Berna Romulo-Puyat led the Philippine delegation, which also included Representative Rodolfo Albano III (1st District Isabela), Representative Mylene Garcia-Albano (2nd District Davao) and Philippine Ambassador to Germany Maria Cleofe Natividad.
Undersecretary Romulo-Puyat served as panelist of the GFFA discussion on “Empowering Women in Agriculture” organized by Germany’s Fair Trade Forum. During the panel discussion, Undersecretary Romulo-Puyat highlighted that the Philippines has embedded gender equality in both its culture and legal framework, with the country having been identified as having the smallest gender gap in Asia and 5th in the world, according to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Gender Gap Index. The Philippine government has also implemented gender and development programs to support rural development, particularly for microfinancing and entrepreneurship.
The Philippines likewise signaled its interest to explore deeper cooperation on fair trade, particularly on technical assistance in securing Fairtrade certification. The Undersecretary inderscored that fair trade practices support marginalized sectors, promote equality between men and women, and help market Filipino products globally. She noted that a product like Destileria Limtuaco & Co.’s Manille Liqueur de Calamansi would be in a prime position to secure fair trade labeling. The liqueur is largely produced by utilizing the calamansi rinds produced by female Mangyans from Oriental Mindoro. Sales help finance the Mangyan Center for Learning and Development, whose main objective is to preserve the Mangyan culture and language.
Undersecretary Romulo-Puyat and Ms. Andrea Futter of the GEPA Society for the Promotion of Partnership with the Third World, Ltd. (GEPA The Fair Trade Company) agreed to explore future collaboration including technical assistance. Currently, GEPA carries Muscovado sugar and dried mangoes as part of its product lines.
During the Berlin Agriculture Ministers’ Summit, Undersecretary Romulo-Puyat called on greater international cooperation to support disaster and climate-vulnerable countries like the Philippines to properly adapt, conserve and utilize its natural resources. END