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CLSU 2005-04: Women’s Participation in Irrigation Associations’ Activities in Two Agro-Ecological Environments

The study determined the level of women’s participation in irrigation-related activities and which of the selected variables have relationship and influence on participation. It was conducted in two national irrigation systems: the Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation Systems (UPRIIS) in Nueva Ecija representing the lowland, and the Upper Chico River Integrated Irrigation systems (UCRIIS) in Kalinga representing the upland agricultural environments. Quantitative and qualitative methods were used in analyzing the data obtained from purposely selected 246 women-respondents. The respondents’ mean age was 56 years and most of them were married. Majority attended high school and had an average of six family members. Most of the women reported to be residents in their localities for an average of 52 years. They stayed about one-half kilometer from their irrigation facilities. In Nueva Ecija, the average farmlot was 2.03 hectares with a per hectare net income of Php28,803.56 while in Kalinga, the mean farmlot was 0.87 hectare and earned Php33,795.34. Majority of all women were owner-cultivators but most of them had no trainings on irrigation. Majority of the respondents in both areas spoke Iloco but they are proficient either in Tagalog or any lingua franca in their locality. Local customs and traditions on women’s involvement in farm activities were always observed and women joining in organizations were acceptable to members of their families and respective organizations. They had high expectation from government and private technicians. Similarly, they have high hopes to increase their income from farming. Women had high level of control of land resources. They had moderate level of access and utilization of farm inputs, water resources, technology and information, labor opportunities and employment. The women were overworked in the performance of their traditional reproductive, community and productive roles. Although all respondents had nearly the same number of mean hours spent in community and productive roles, but the women in Kalinga spent more time in doing reproductive roles than their counterparts in Nueva Ecija. Only about one-fourth of the respondents were involved in irrigation-related activities. They participated in tasks considered “Light” and “Not risky” by local customs and traditions. Qualitatively, the overall level of women’s participation in irrigation-related activities was low. In three focus group discussions held, the primary reasons for the low participation of women were due to men taking over the heavy and risky tasks of irrigation activities and the multiple burden women performed as their traditional roles. Education, family size, farm size and distance of residence from irrigation systems facilities were found related with women’s participation. Language proficiency, observance of local customs and traditions, and the women’s expectations had also significant relationships with participation. Women’s access and control of farm inputs, domestic and irrigation water, and technology and information were significantly related with participation. Finally, the time spent on reproductive and community roles were significantly related with women’s participation in irrigation related activities. The problems cited by the respondents mainly focused on the inactive and non-participative members of irrigation associations, internal conflicts arising from water distribution, inadequate training on water resources management, and costly water pumps to provide additional source of irrigation.

Central Luzon State University
Authors Keywords
Cuaresma, Ponciano D.; irrigation system; women's participation; irrigation systems management; agro-ecological environment;
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