Women in Benguet step up for disaster response

Women are increasingly recognized as good resource mobilizers during disasters.

Asita Mag-ili, 48 years old, chairs the Board of Directors (BOD) of the Tublay Agriculture Based League of Entrepreneurs (TABLE), a farmers’ group assisted by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD). She is just one of the women farmers who have been stepping up in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

TABLE is being supported under DOST-PCAARRD’s Science and Technology (S&T) Action Frontline for Emergencies and Hazards (SAFE) technology transfer modality.

 

Since March 27, 2020, TABLE has been bringing agricultural crops to the Tublay Agri-Marketing and Food processing grounds for repacking and delivery to different entities that conduct relief operations in response to the COVID-19 crisis. On her part, Mag-ili has been mobilizing resources by introducing the local government unit’s (LGU) marketing scheme to her fellow farmers, whose income and livelihood have become unstable due to the lockdown.

The farmers’ group has already marketed about 700 kilos of assorted vegetables harvested from farms under the DOST-PCAARRD and Benguet State University (BSU) project titled, “Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) of Climate Change Impacts on Vulnerable Terraced Farms in Benguet.”

With the community quarantine, the challenge is how to start anew. Small-scale farming households have lost their income. By actively representing and participating on the ‘inclusive supply chain’ initiative of the LGU of Tublay, Mag-ili makes sure her fellow farmers’ crops get into new market links.

Other local farmers acknowledge the persistent efforts of Mag-ili. Luis and Satur, farmer-cooperators of the PCAARRD-BSU-SAFE project, claim that through the mechanism that the group has been leading, farmers are assured of a steady cash income.

With the impending rainy season and possible climate related disasters ahead, the group hopes to be more resilient with the PCAARRD-BSU-SAFE disaster risk reduction (DRR) mitigating technologies, which had been recognized as useful at both the farmers’ and at the Tublay LGU level.

PCAARRD-BSU-SAFE-assisted farmers are indeed forming a group of champions who can respond to any type of disaster or crisis.