THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said on Tuesday that it exceeded the legally-mandated spending minimum for gender-related programs in 2022.

“Last year, we exceeded the mandated percentage as we allocated 17% or P11 billion out of the P59.8-B budget. For this year, we increased our GAD (Gender and Development) budget by P6.2B —comprising P17.2B out of our total allocation of P87.07B,” DA Senior Undersecretary Domingo F. Panganiban said in a statement.

The DA said it tallied 2.66 million women in agriculture as of March, citing growth in voluntary registration.

The DA said the female farmers, farmworkers, and fisherfolk accounted for 42.9% of the 6.212 million farmers contained in the department’s database of workers, known as the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture.

Farmers in the database are eligible for government aid to the agriculture industry, in the form of machinery, inputs and cash aid.

The March tally compares with 1.987 million women in the registry in October 2021.

The DA seeks to allot at least 5% of its budget to GAD initiatives in compliance with Republic Act No. 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera