Women farmers demand more support for local women’s produce

Women’s Market 2012 held at Quezon City Hall Plaza

Women farmers and fishers from various regions of Luzon came together on World Food Day calling on government to establish social enterprises that focus on women and support local products in the rural areas. During the 4th The Women’s Market held in Quezon City, Mary delos Santos, president of the Pambansang Koalisyon ng mga Kababaihan sa Kanayunan (PKKK) said “it is high time that government strengthens its programs for women farmers by finding a market for their products and increase their incomes”.

According to PKKK, over half of the world’s food are produced by women and yet less than 30% of women small farmers have access to extension services and only 9% have access to government provided capital support. “The Women’s Market aims to promote an alternative market for local products of rural women and their communities,” said delos Santos. It adopts the concept of “TABO” (Visayan term for meeting or gathering which refers to the regular “market day”), a place where producers interact with consumers, a practice that is largely missing now in the context of high-end commercial centers. “Ito din ay isang paraan upang magbalik tanaw tayo sa mga produkto mula sa kanayunan. Batid natin na napalitan na ang mga nakagisnan nating pagkain tulad ng suman ,ginataan o ibat ibang uri ng kakanin at gulay ng mga dayuhang pagkain tulad ng mga pagkain mula sa fastfoods,” Delos Santos added.

In celebration of the World Food Day today, PKKK along with fellow advocates of food security and sustainable livelihoods, kicked off the 4th Women’s Market on October 16-18 at the Quezon City Hall Plaza. The market featured locally grown and processed food products (eg. organic rice, brown rice, vegetables, fruits, confectionaries, dried fish, herbal medicines) and non-food items such as handicrafts and indigenous items as well as advocacy materials. Cooking and product demos were also held. On its opening day, the Women’s Market also played host to the Brown Rice Campaign of Oxfam. Since last month, the international humanitarian organization has been campaigning for more Filipinos to eat brown rice to promote healthier and more positive food choices and to support sustainable agriculture for smaller rural food producers. Brown Rice celebrity advocates like Bayang Barrios, Roxanne Barcelo graced the event.