By Revin Mikhael D. Ochave, Reporter

FEMALE FARMERS are hindered by land titling issues and unequal pay, which must be addressed if production is to improve, agribusiness executives said.

Cherrie D. Atilano, AGREA Philippines chief executive officer, said in an interview with BusinessWorld that land distributed under the agrarian reform program is usually titled in the name of the husband in the farming family.

“It should not be the case. The land title should be in the name of both the husband and the wife,” Ms. Atilano said.

“If your name is not on the title, then you are not the owner. The title is not just about the property. This is also about the idea of since they own the land, they exercise ownership to make it productive,” she added.

Elizabeth C. Hernandez, Corteva Agriscience Asia Pacific head of External Affairs and Sustainability, also told BusinessWorld that the land titling issue limits the potential of female farmers.

“The land ownership is a source of collateral. What that means is that you do not have access to finance, which is a critical part to be able to invest and modernize the farms,” Ms. Hernandez said.  

Ms. Atilano said another issue that should be resolved is the disparity in terms of compensation among female farmers compared to male farmers.

In 2019, male farm workers had an average nominal wage rate of P335 per day, against the P304.60 daily wage of female farm workers, the Philippine Statistics Authority estimated.

“For example, in corporate farming — those that are operated by big corporations — you have farmers who are not landowners but are tenants. They are given a daily wage. Most of the time, the woman’s salary is lower compared to the male counterparts even if the women do the same amount of work,” Ms. Atilano said.  

“Addressing the gender pay gap and land titling and ownership… would make it easier for women,” she added.

Ms. Hernandez said more women can be encouraged to venture into agriculture if their view of the industry is changed.

“The more that we put the spotlight on women farmers and recognize their contribution, more will be engaged. I think when the pride is there in the farming profession, the more that we can encourage women and youth to pursue careers in agribusiness,” Ms. Hernandez said.  

Ms. Atilano said women can also take part in other aspects of agriculture.

“Agriculture is not just farming or planting. You can do agribusiness. You can be in your kitchen but doing food processing. It is still part of agribusiness. You can be a vendor and run a business from your home through online tools,” Ms. Atilano said.