The agriculture sector contributes about 40% to the gross domestic product (GDP) of the Philippine economy. But the country’s agriculture sector faces persistent challenges of low productivity, poverty, and ineffective response to climate change impact. In 2020-2021, the height of the COVID-19 pandemic further worsened these problems—with limited mobility due to lockdowns, unstable supply chain due to unpredictable quarantine impositions, and the felt risk of transmission in communities.
Among the most affected by these challenges are women. The Philippine Commission on Women reported that women in agriculture are marginalized and more disadvantaged compared to men. They continue to face gender inequalities with limited resources, lack of access to training and financing, smaller farm plots, and lack of land ownership. They also experience lesser pay with their work being considered an extension of their household chores and are often left out in decision-making. Thus, women are more vulnerable to both economic and climate shocks, often leading to poverty and insecurity.
The Philippines Partnership for Sustainable Agriculture (PPSA) is a multi-stakeholder platform that aims to achieve inclusive agricultural growth for all farmers. With a strong focus on women economic empowerment, PPSA supports the empowerment and resilience of women in the agricultural sector.
PPSA is part of the ASEAN Green Recovery through Equity & Empowerment (AGREE) project, an initiative that works toward building economic empowerment and climate resilience. Through the AGREE Project, PPSA helps promote economic opportunities through climate-positive practices among the marginalized women in corn-producing regions in the Philippines.
TRANSITIONING TO A LOW CARBON ECONOMY
The AGREE Project is a 30-month research project that aims to facilitate the transition to a low-carbon economy in ASEAN’s agriculture sector by promoting livelihoods and green job opportunities for women, through the production of gender and climate analysis, case studies, knowledge and learning products, and pilot testing activities to inform policy development.
The project, funded by the International Development Research Center (IDRC), is led by the Cambodia Partnership for Sustainable Agriculture in collaboration with Grow Asia, PPSA, the Partnership for Sustainable Agriculture in Vietnam, and the ASEAN Climate Resilience Network.
The AGREE project is implemented in Cambodia, Vietnam, and Philippines with each country having its own commodity of focus–coffee, rice, and corn respectively. The selection of the value chain focus for the Philippines was done through a combination of desk research and consultations with PPSA partners. After a thorough analysis based on specific criteria, the result of the selection process revealed that women share a relatively high percentage of labor in the corn value chain which makes it a strategic crop of focus.
Through the project, PPSA seeks to deliver the following project outcomes:
Increased commitment from the private sector for gender-responsive and inclusive practices;
Increased awareness of policymakers for gender-inclusive climate-smart policies; and
Improved gender-responsive Research on products and processes to address knowledge gaps
“We at PPSA believe that it is necessary to investigate and understand the context of women in agriculture from a multidimensional perspective to ensure that recommendations on better opportunities for women are being heard and put to action,” said PPSA Country Director Amy Melissa Chua.
SCALING UP EFFORTS FOR COVID-19 RECOVERY
The AGREE project informs an ongoing analysis of the challenges that women corn farmers face after the COVID-19 pandemic as well as their recovery journey. This research seeks to contribute to the existing efforts of the ASEAN Member States on COVID-19 Recovery and draw balanced recommendations to highlight livelihood opportunities that contribute to both the resilience of women farmers and climate adaptation. It also promotes the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, mainly SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth), 2 (zero hunger), and 1 (end poverty) which focus on inclusive and sustainable economic and agricultural growth and building climate resilience.
“To ensure the recovery of our agricultural sector, we need a gender-responsive and climate-positive approach in addressing the challenges they are facing. We hope that through PPSA’s network of partners, we can successfully achieve the core objectives of the AGREE project,” said Amy Melissa Chua.
AGREE is a research project funded by the International Development Research Centre and implemented by Grow Asia through its country chapters in the Philippines, Cambodia, and Vietnam. It aims to contribute a catalogue of what's working, what’s needed, and how to scale women's economic empowerment via low-carbon strategies—a gap identified by Grow Asia on effectively mainstreaming gender across its network.
For more information about the AGREE Project, you may contact firstname.lastname@example.org.