On the occasion of the International Rural Women’s Day: fisherfolk group says women fishers a ‘ghost fish producers’
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya-Pilipinas) today joined the peasant women group Amihan (National Federation of peasant women) on their protest on the commemoration of the International Rural Women’s Day.
The protest was held in Mendiola, Manila where hundreds of rural women including fishers and farmers gathered to show how the women in the rural areas are the most vulnerable to poverty and social injustice.
In a statement, the Pamalakaya Vice-Chairperson Salvador France said that even in fisheries sector, the fisher women are also vulnerable to exploitations.
The group said that women are contributing a lot in the whole fishing production through their engagement in the pre- and post-harvesting but it seems that their role in the fishing industry is very underrated, making them a ‘ghost fish producers’.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), women undertake 50-70 percent of local fish processing and marketing activities. The FAO claimed that women are involved in fishing production by many forms, from preparation of fishing gear to involvement in fishing, harvesting and distributing activities, especially marketing.
“However, the government barely recognizes the women’s role in fisheries production despite their big contribution to the fishing industry. The ‘ghost fish producers’ have yet to receive any program that will support and recognize them.” France said.
“The involvement of women in the fishing production is undermined because their fishing activities are viewed as an extension of their traditional role for domestic chores and only for household production.” France added.
The women sector, according to Philippine Statistics Authority (then NSCB) is the fifth sector that has the highest poverty incidence in the country with 25.9% poverty rate.
Pamalakaya said that the anti-people policies, programs and projects on fishing waters imposed by the government are the reasons why women in rural areas are deeply in crisis making their impoverished condition even worst.
“So the women fishers, farmers and other sectors gathered today not to celebrate, but to expose and to register what really the rural women are facing under the Aquino regime. We also raised our calls for a genuine land and fisheries reform and
to end all the feudal exploitations that will liberate the women and the people in general. ” France ended. ###