BACOLOD CITY – The Department of Agriculture's (DA) top rural woman awardee, Dolores Ceralbo of Don Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental, is advocating for more young people to engage in farming as part of the efforts to ensure the country's food security.
“I commit to help in the programs, especially for women and also for the youth to engage in farming. Right now, young people are no longer interested in agriculture. Only the old people are into farming in our place. They (the youth) instead want to work in air-conditioned offices because farming entails being under the heat of the sun,” Ceralbo said in Hiligaynon, during her acceptance speech.
The 57-year-old Negrense farmer, who represented Western Visayas, was awarded the national winner of the 2022 Search for Outstanding Rural Woman, besting eight other regional winners, in rites held at the PhilRice station in the Science City of Muñoz in Nueva Ecija on Thursday.
Ceralbo is the vice chair of Pandanon Integrated Balangon Farmers’ Association, which is a recipient of Rice Production and Mushroom Production Projects of the DA's Special Area for Agricultural Development Program in Western Visayas.
“Her passion for sustainable agriculture started with her simple goal – providing three meals daily for her family. Through her dedication and hard work, she was able to establish her organic integrated farm,” the DA-Region 6 said.
As the national winner, Ceralbo received a cash prize of PHP150,000 and an additional prize from the DA-6 in the form of a project or intervention that she may need which can be production inputs, machinery, equipment, or facilities.
The agricultural extension worker who assisted her is entitled to receive an amount of PHP15,000.
Launched in 2003, the annual Search for the Outstanding Rural Women gives due recognition to rural women who showed excellence in their field endeavors and have made both outstanding achievements in agri-fishery development and significant impacts in the lives of their fellow rural people.
Through the competition, the success stories of Filipina farmers and fishers are documented to focus public attention on them as role models for women empowerment. (PNA)