You are on page 1of 47


an expert consultation report

SEAMEO-SEARCA Headquarters
University of the Philippines Los Baños
Laguna, Philippines

10–13 September 2001

Organized by:

Food and Agriculture Organization –
Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (FAO-RAP)

International Potato Center – Users’ Perspectives With
Agricultural Research and Development (CIP-UPWARD)

SEAMEO Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study
and Research in Agriculture (SEAMEO-SEARCA)

The designations employed and the presentation of material in this publication do not
imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture
Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory,
city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or

All rights reserved. Reproduction and dissemination of material in this information
product for educational or other non-commercial purposes are authorized without prior
written permission from copyright holders provided the source is fully acknowledged.
Reproduction of material in this information product for resale or other commercial
purposes is prohibited without written permission of the copyright holders. Application of
such permission should be addressed to the Meetings and Publications Officer, FAO
Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Phra Athit Road, Bangkok 10200, Thailand.

 FAO 2002

Editorial support: Raul Boncodin, Catherine Lopez, Marcel Barang, and Belita Vega
Cover photo: Women farmers in the mountains of Nepal (photo courtesy: LARC)

ISBN: 971-614-018-5

For copies, contact:

Revathi Balakrishnan, Ph.D.
Regional Rural Sociologist and Women in Development Officer
FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
Bangkok 10200, Thailand
Fax: 66-2-697-4445

List of acronyms

I. Foreword – R. B. Singh 1

II. Consultation overview – Dindo M. Campilan 2

III. Welcome message – Ruben L. Villareal 4

IV. Opening message – R.B. Singh 6

V. Keynote message – Sam Mu Lee 8

VI. Overview: FAO gender and the biodiversity programme – R. Balakrishnan 11

VII. Abstracts of case papers 13

Bangladesh – PROSHIKA 13
Bhutan – Renewable Natural Resources Research Center (RNR-RC) 14
China – Centre for Biodiversity and Indigenous Knowledge (CBIK) 15
India – M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation 16
Indonesia – Indonesian Institutes of Sciences and Nippon Foundation 17
Lao PDR – National Integrated Pest Management Programme 19
Nepal – Resources Himalayas 20
Philippines – SEAMEO-SEARCA and CIP-UPWARD 22
Philippines – CIP-UPWARD 23
Thailand – Northern Development Foundation 24

VIII. Synthesis of discussions 25

IX. Recommendations 33

X. Appendices 36

A List of participants 36
B Programme 40
C FAO websites and resources on gender and biodiversity 42

List of acronyms

ASEAN Association of Southeast Asian Nations
BUCAP Biodiversity Use and Conservation in Asia Programme
CBIK Centre for Biodiversity and Indigenous Knowledge
CIP-UPWARD International Potato Center – Users’ Perspectives with Agricultural Research
and Development
FAO Food and Agriculture Organization
GDP Gross Domestic Product
IIRR International Institute of Rural Reconstruction
IPM Integrated Pest Management
IRRI International Rice Research Institute
IPGRI International Plant Genetic Resources Institute
Lao PDR Lao People’s Democratic Republic
MSSRF M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation
NARC National Agricultural Research Centre
NGO Non-governmental organization
RDE Research, Development and Extension
RNR-RC Renewable Natural Resources Research Centre
SDWW Women in Development Service
SEAMEO-SEARCA Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization – Regional Center
for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture
SEARICE Southeast Asia Regional Institute for Community Education
UPLB University of the Philippines Los Baños
WCARRD World Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development

R. B. Singh
Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative
FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

The Food and Agriculture Organization upholds the creed that assisting rural women to improve farm
production can be an effective means to achieve farm productivity and national food security. Rural
women contribute to agriculture and food production, beginning with seed management to value addition
in post-harvest processing. Hence rural women are the driving forces to achieve sustainable food security.
But we are yet to recognize their critical role in one aspect of natural resource management, that is
management of plant diversity in the local communities.

Rural women have played a major role in conserving the indigenous variability and they possess
knowledge on their variable uses. The genetic treasure needs to be conserved for today and tomorrow’s
use and rural women must play a leading role in this direction. Recognizing the urgency of safeguarding
the national endowment, several countries are creating regulations and laws on genetic resources. The
roles of rural women should be clearly recognized in these regulations. Those countries that have
regulations should develop actions focused on supporting women in sustainable use and conservation of
these resources. However, the passive approach to assisting rural women should be discouraged and an
active approach to partnership with rural women should be encouraged. Partnership with rural women
will be a valuable collaboration for the scientists who aim to achieve the goals of sustainable natural
resource management and productive agricultural systems.

The FAO consultation on “Expert consultation on agrobiodiversity conservation and the role of rural
women” was organized to address these contemporary concerns with tripartite collaboration. The partners
were FAO regional office for Asia and the Pacific, the International Potato Centre – Users’ Perspectives
With Agricultural Research and Development (CIP-UPWARD), and SEAMEO Southeast Asian Regional
Centre for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEAMEO-SEARCA). Specifically, the
consultation explored gender concerns in agrobiodiversity management in the context of local knowledge
systems and local community rights for natural resources and women’s right to these resources. This
publication is the outcome of the consultation that had the participation of regional experts who are
directly involved in the programmes for community-based agrobiodiversity management.

I am convinced that this publication will facilitate the achievement of FAO’s objectives in this techical
area. These are, implemeting policy for field action to stregthen rural women’s roles in managing
agrobiodiversity resource; and, fostering partnership of scientists with rural women as stewards of local
biodiversity systems and together creating an effective policy interface to guarantee women’s right to
local resources and right to share in the benefits derived from the use of local resources.

R.B. Singh
Assistant Director-General and
Regional Representative
FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
Bangkok, Thailand
February 2002


Dindo M. Campilan
Coordinator, CIP-UPWARD

Several conferences and consultations had already been organized to tackle issues on agrobiodiversity
conservation, as well as those on women’s role in agricultural development. However, this consultation
was one of the few activities so far organized that simultaneously address agrobiodiversity and gender
concerns. The limited attention given to the link between these two domains was somewhat evident in the
organizers’ difficulty in identifying potential participants with experience and interest in both.

An increasing amount of empirical evidence now points to the key role that women play in
agrobiodiversity conservation. Yet there remains a need for research and development workers, together
with policymakers and donors, to better understand the contributions that women make as
agrobiodiversity managers. Moreover, there is a need to fully examine the agro-economic and
sociocultural circumstances surrounding women as they take up this role, among their multiple roles
within rural farming households and communities.

The consultation sought to address these challenges through a bottom-up process involving a review of
field-level experience and using lessons learned to guide programme planning and policy development.
Case experiences from nine countries in Asia (i.e. Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR,
Nepal, the Philippines and Thailand) served as inputs to the discussions.

The four-day schedule was structured according to the following main sessions:
a) opening programme with an overview of the consultation theme;
b) presentation and discussion of case studies;
c) synthesis of discussion points and issues;
d) small-group sessions to formulate recommendations; and
e) presentation and criticism of recommendations.

The anticipated outcome of the consultation was:
a) strategies to strengthen institutional partnerships among government, research organizations,
non-governmental organizations, and communities to assist rural women in their role as local
agrobiodiversity managers for food security; and
b) recommendations for research, policy and programme development to improve the
contribution and participation of rural women to conserve and improve agrobiodiversity
systems in the Asian region.

The core participants in the consultation were country experts involved in community-level projects that
support women’s participation in agrobiodiversity conservation. To help review and process these project
experiences, resource persons were also invited to share their own critical perspectives.

FAO, which initiated the idea of this consultation and funded the activity, collaborated with CIP-
UPWARD and SEARCA in planning and organizing this forum. Together with the rest of the
participants, the co-organizers had insightful deliberations on the theme, and the consultation generated
ideas on how to further the goals of agrobiodiversity conservation through a strategy that would enhance
women’s participation.


Ruben L. Villareal

Dr Villareal welcomed the participants to the SEAMEO Regional Center for Graduate Study and
Research in Agriculture or SEARCA.

He stated that he was happy to be able to collaborate with FAO and CIP-UPWARD in organizing this
important activity. He noted that in May 2001 SEARCA worked with CIP-UPWARD in conducting a
workshop on microenterprises. He was glad to note that barely four months later, they were in partnership
again on this worthwhile endeavour.

SEARCA is the oldest regional centre of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization
(SEAMEO). SEAMEO, the mother organization, is an international treaty organization composed of
Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore,
Thailand and Viet Nam. It aims to promote regional cooperation in education, culture and science.

As a regional organization, SEARCA is committed to strengthening institutional capacity in sustainable
agriculture to attain food security in Southeast Asia through human resource development, research,
knowledge exchange, and policy support.

SEARCA has three research and development programmes, namely, Natural Resource Management,
Agro-industrial Development and Knowledge Management. The Gender and Development project is one
of the special projects whose concerns cut across all the other programmes of SEARCA.

Moreover, as a regional organization, SEARCA’s main method of carrying out its mandate is through
partnership with national, regional and international organizations, both governmental and non-
governmental. It forms strategic alliances and partnerships as well as forward and backward linkages,
which enable it to work in the context of complementation of strengths and resources. SEARCA’s
working relationship with UPWARD is a good example of such a partnership. Dr Villareal said that he
believed that the paper presenters in this consultation would provide ample information and ideas to mull
over and to use as the basis for coming up with the consultation’s expected outputs.

He further noted that no matter how many times he had heard the statistics, it never failed to impress him
that on a global scale, women produce more than half of all the food that is grown. He wondered if
statistics would show that more than half of all the food available is eaten by men, adding that he would
not be surprised if that were the case.

Research has also shown that in communities where women play a major role in agriculture, the role of
agrobiodiversity conservation is likely to be equally high. It would thus be logical to suggest that to
optimize such positive effects, the role of women in agricultural development efforts should be expanded

or at the very least given due recognition so that right at the beginning, their contributions are factored
into programmes and considered in policies.

Dr Villareal expressed the hope that this consultation would result in relevant and pragmatic policy
recommendations, and that participants could work together to bring such recommendations closer to the
consciousness of policymakers and decisionmakers so that recommendations will cease being just
recommendations and be translated into workable policies and programmes.


R. B. Singh
Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative
FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

In his message, Dr Singh welcomed the participants to the expert consultation on “Agrobiodiversity
conservation and the role of rural women”. He welcomed the interagency collaboration with Philippines-
based international organizations, namely CIP-UPWARD and SEARCA, to sustain the technical
contributions from institutions in the region for the advancement of rural women facilitated by the FAO
Women in Development Programme.

FAO is responsible for monitoring the progress in the promises made in various UN meetings for
improving the status of rural women, and in the World Food Summit Plan of Action global agenda for
achieving food security with gender equity in access to productive resources. Dr Singh urged the
participants to bear in mind that assisting rural women to improve farm production can be an effective
means of achieving farm productivity and national food security.

The Asia-Pacific region is a rich biodiversity centre. However, its genetic resources as well as
information on these are eroding fast. Women have played a major role in conserving the indigenous
variability and possess knowledge on their variable uses. The genetic treasure needs to be conserved for
today and tomorrow’s use and women must play a leading role in this direction. Recognizing the urgency
of safeguarding the national endowment, several countries are creating regulations and laws on genetic
resources. The roles of women should be clearly recognized in these regulations. Those countries that
have regulations should develop actions focused on supporting women in sustainable use and
conservation of these resources.

However, the passive approach to assisting rural women should be discouraged and an active approach to
partnership with rural women encouraged. Partnership with rural women will be a valuable collaboration
for scientists who aim to achieve the goals of sustainable natural resource management and productive
agricultural systems. It involves linking two knowledge systems, namely of those who manage the
farming systems and of those who aim to improve farm productivity through technological interventions.
Rural women have gained knowledge of crops, plants and farming systems through observation and
practice over the years and intergenerational transfer of traditional knowledge of seeds and soils. Such an
endowment of local knowledge in agrobiodiversity should be given due acknowledgment in developing
science and technology for resource sustainability and farm productivity.

The FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific has identified gender dimensions in agrobiodiversity
management for food security as an important technical programme. Under this technical programme
framework, various activities have been completed in the last few years. These have resulted in
publications on gender dimensions in biodiversity in countries such as India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
Dr Singh noted that a study on similar lines for the Philippines has also been completed and a joint

publication of FAO and CIP-UPWARD on this is expected soon. In 1999, a technical consultation was
completed with the participation of regional researchers and the report has been made available. Dr Singh
asked the participants to look at the recommendations of the 1999 report on regional networks and policy
framework. As a follow up, this consultation focuses on involving rural women who are the guardians of
local biodiversity as partners in community-based biodiversity conservation programmes with important
implications for policy.

Dr Singh welcomed the deliberations in this consultation, being himself a scientist with a keen
commitment for biodiversity conservation and for developing a policy framework for community-based
biodiversity conservation. He added that the consultation would explore gender concerns in
agrobiodiversity management in the context of local knowledge systems and local community rights for
natural resources and women’s rights to these resources.

Dr Singh proposed the following policy agenda for deliberation:
• the focus should be on policy implementation for field action to strengthen rural women’s roles
in managing agrobiodiversity resources; and,
• the partnership should be such that scientists work closely with rural women who share the
stewardship of local biodiversity systems and together create an effective policy interface to
ensure that women’s right to local resources and right to share in the benefits from the use of
local resources are guaranteed.

He emphasized that this task could prove to be challenging. However, he was confident that as experts
who have gathered for this consultation, the participants have both the skill and will to achieve this end in
close collaboration with their respective national governments, relevant national institutions and
representatives of civil society organizations.

Dr Singh concluded by expressing FAO’s commitment to support the work in the region to achieve food
security through equal partnership of women and men. He urged everyone to explore jointly with
institutional partners all the means to achieve the global agenda for food security with equity. On behalf
of FAO, he personally extended his appreciation to all for accepting the invitation to participate in the
meeting. He thanked the organizing partners, CIP-UPWARD and SEARCA, for their cooperation in
organizing the consultation. He said that he was looking forward to FAO’s continued association with the
regional institutions beyond this meeting and wished everyone to have productive deliberations and
follow-up actions that would strengthen rural women’s contribution to biodiversity conservation.


Sang Mu Lee
FAO Representative (Philippines)

On behalf of the FAO office in the Philippines, Dr Lee conveyed his compliments, support and
encouragement for this important regional initiative on “Agrobiodiversity conservation and the role of
rural women”. For FAO, this consultation served as a very important reminder of the crucial role played
by women in the collective drive to eradicate poverty, hunger and malnutrition all over the world. He
congratulated the organizers for holding this at SEARCA.

On a personal note, Dr Lee expressed his appreciation to the organizers for holding the consultation at the
University of the Philippines Los Baños, a beautiful campus situated in a green and well-preserved
mountainous area. He noted that this important ecosystem, which is rich in biodiversity, is continuously
being protected and monitored for conservation purposes at this time of rapid transformation of its
surrounding communities. He appealed to the participants to use this area as a unique model to show that
conservation is indeed possible even when there are manmade changes in its environment.

Dr Lee stressed the importance of recalling that since its establishment on 16 October 1945, FAO has
been playing a catalytic role that has set the stage for integrating gender issues in both agricultural policy
planning and programme implementation. This role was derived from the reality that women constitute
the majority of the world’s total agricultural labour force. It is well documented that women are involved
in traditional agricultural activities including production, harvesting, processing and marketing of
agricultural commodities. We do not want to increase the burden on women, but if they are properly
motivated, they could provide the required human resources in agrobiodiversity conservation.

Furthermore, the Peasants’ Charter, which was adopted by member-countries following the
implementation in 1979 of the World Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development, otherwise
known as WCARRD, recognized the unique and important role of women in agricultural development,
and he quoted:
“Agricultural development based on growth with equity will require the full
integration of women in terms of equitable access to agricultural land, appropriate
technology, agricultural inputs, agricultural services and equal opportunity with
men to develop and employ their full potential.”

Since then, FAO has ensured that gender concerns and women participants are integrated in all relevant
FAO projects and activities. The organization aims to give women equal access to and control of land and
other productive resources, increase their participation in decisionmaking and policymaking, reduce their
workload and enhance their opportunities for paid employment and income.

Dr Lee added that the FAO Plan of Action for Women in Development (1996-2001), adopted in 1995,
presents a framework for ensuring that gender issues become an integral part of the organization’s work.

For FAO, gender is a cross-cutting issue requiring organization-wide responsibilities. For each of the
technical areas for which FAO is responsible, programmes of action for the advancement of women have
been developed. These programmes seek to strengthen the technical, professional and resource capacities
of FAO to address issues of gender and to diffuse responsibility for integrating such issues among all
those working in the development arena. This will help ensure that the FAO commitment to the
advancement of women is translated into concrete achievements.

Dr Lee raised the question of how people could be expected to protect natural resources and agrobio-
diversity and worry about future generations when their immediate survival is at risk. He posited that the
true enemies of natural resource degradation, i.e. poverty and social inequality, must be seen and must be
acknowledged at all levels. Management and conservation of natural resources at the national level
represent key areas of concern, and unless a solid policy is established and politically accepted, efforts
and resources will continue to be wasted. The FAO approach to sustainable agriculture is therefore
inspired by considerations of human needs and production incentives. Natural resources are managed by
people to safeguard their wellbeing by emphasizing the social and economic rather than technical

Dr Lee then proposed that sustainable development and safeguard of the natural resource base can only be
promoted through a well-defined policy framework and by facilitating legislation and institutions that
• food security by ensuring an appropriate and sustainable balance between self-sufficiency and
• employment and income generation to eradicate poverty in rural areas; and
• natural resource conservation and environmental protection.

At the national level, an overall policy framework to promote sustainable development while
safeguarding the natural resource base should aim to:
• create an overall economic environment conducive to growth with equity;
• create an overall policy environment that enables and encourages people’s participation and
addresses gender issues;
• establish an appropriate policy for human settlement;
• establish a population policy such that growth should stabilize, given current knowledge of the
stock of natural resources and the technologies available to exploit them; and
• induce changes in consumption patterns and lifestyles to reduce wastage and ease pressure on the
resource base and the environment.

He further mentioned that over the last three decades, the world has seen differing strategies to achieve
these goals, and enhanced dialogue and awareness of the need to conserve natural resources have been
developed successively. During 1960-1972, there was an urgent need to raise local agricultural
productivity in countries where it was most needed. In the 1972-1986 period, new issues related to the
degradation of the world’s resources through soil erosion, deforestation, overgrazing, overexploitation
and other abuses emerged. After 1986, we have witnessed the Den Bosch Conference on Agriculture and
the Environment held on 15-19 April 1991. The Den Bosch declaration indicated the steps that needed to

be taken to keep agricultural practices in line with sustainable production. Such steps include: (a) the
alleviation of poverty; (b) the need to recognize the key role of women in development; (c) the need for
more equitable land tenure arrangements; and (d) more balanced human settlement and population

Conservation and development are interdependent, and it is not by coincidence that the term “sustainable
development” was underscored in the World Conservation Strategy of 1980. This was followed by Our
Common Future in 1987 and Caring for the Earth in 1991. To cap it all, the UNCED of 3-14 June 1992
focused on conservation and management of resources for development through the adoption of Agenda

Dr Lee noted that the common denominators of these strategies that have been evolving over time are the
critical requirements for implementable and affordable conservation and development policies at the
national level, and the need to secure the participation of all people, not only women, through the
organizations of their local communities.

Within this broader and historical context, and within the scope of sustainable agriculture and rural
development, he assured the participants that FAO is anxious to continue to support this and similar
regional efforts geared towards ecological balance and the sustainable management and development of



Revathi Balakrishnan
Regional Rural Sociologist and Women in Development Officer
FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

The Women in Development Service (SDWW) deals, among other issues, with the inter-relationships
between local knowledge systems, management of agrobiodiversity and gender. Women in Development
Service programme activities in the Asia-Pacific region focus on gender dimensions in agrobiodiversity
management and household food security. The regional initiative limits its activities to agrobiodiversity
with full recognition that agricultural production systems include livestock, forestry and aquatic elements.
The focus on gender role diversity in crop biodiversity management assures a manageable entry point
towards an understanding of such complex systems.

The current expert consultation complements the various FAO initiatives in Rome and builds on the work
undertaken in the regional office in the last few years. The work began with commissioning country
studies in South Asia. M.S. Swaminathan Research Institute scientists collaborated with the FAO
Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in undertaking studies in India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. The
country studies for Nepal and Bhutan would be finalized after completing participatory work with specific
relevance to gender dimensions in biodiversity management. These bodies of work would hopefully build
a knowledge base on women and men’s roles in bioresource management and fill the current information
gap. The FAO regional office has also initiated activities to build an information base on gender
dimensions in agrobiodiversity management for ASEAN countries. In the Philippines, FAO has
commissioned a study with CIP-UPWARD which would document gender dimensions in secondary crop
production, specifically sweet potato.

In 1999, the FAO regional office in collaboration with the M.S. Swaminathan Foundation organized a
technical consultation on “Gender dimensions in biodiversity management and household food security”.
Her Excellency the Minister for Agriculture of Bangladesh gave the keynote address and participated in
most of the sessions of the technical consultation. The report of the consultation was published and
included recommendations and strategies for research and programme development in the area of gender
dimensions in biodiversity management for household food security. The participants in the 1999 meeting
were mostly institutional researchers. The second expert consultation now being organized in the
Philippines in collaboration with CIP-UPWARD will focus on grassroots-level conservation of
agrobiodiversity with a gender role perspective. The rationale is one of exploration of grassroots-level
realities to identify action areas for creating enabling policy conditions to support the roles of rural
women in agrobiodiversity conservation as an initial step in managing resources.

Within the context of the Norway-funded regional project “Gender, biodiversity and local knowledge
systems to strengthen agricultural and rural development” that is based in Rome, field activities have been

implemented in Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Mozambique. These have provided training, small grants and
technical backstopping to raise awareness and build capacity in these countries on the use and value of
local knowledge for food security. A curriculum/module on gender and biodiversity for an African
agricultural programme was developed. For sustainable gains in gender development, mainstreaming this
curricular approach would be most appropriate.

SDWW has also prepared three case studies on gender issues and management of plant genetic resources
(1998). These were “Peasant women and Andean seeds”, “Women and indigenous knowledge in animal
production in Bolivia” and “The role of women in the conservation of maize genetic resources in
Guatemala”. SDWW also supported research on the gender impacts of crop diversity in Mali.

Other activities developed by SDWW include mainstreaming gender issues into the FAO work in
biodiversity by providing technical assistance to FAO technical divisions, a gender and biodiversity fact
sheet, and a gender and biodiversity inventory of actors and issues in Peru. The LinKS project produced a
video entitled “Sharing the knowledge”, about gender, biodiversity and indigenous knowledge. There are
FAO websites that provide additional details on the work and publications of SDWW on gender and

A SEAGA (Socio-Economic and Gender Analysis) guide on genetic resources is now in a draft version.
The LinKS team will verify the guides and manuals that are available, evaluate and appropriately
consolidate these documents.

Currently, SDWW is obtaining final approval from the FAO Conference for the Gender and Development
Plan of Action for 2002 to 2007. The plan differs from previous ones in the process of development.
Every technical division of FAO was requested to prepare its plan for mainstreaming gender issues in
their respective technical activities. To achieve gender-equitable responsibility for gender mainstreaming,
technical officers from all divisions will take appropriate action. Each technical division will have a focal
person to follow up these activities. SDWW will provide support as required, monitor and evaluate the
divisional activities and undertake training to improve the gender analysis and gender planning skills of
the technical staff.

The programme linkages of SDWW with other technical units, both at the regional level and in Rome,
will be strengthened to achieve the gender mainstreaming mandate of FAO. The field programme
activities in the region will focus on regional projects, while Rome will take on inter-regional activities.
The country offices will implement country-based projects. It is understood that the SDWW activities in
the region and in Rome will coordinate to formulate collaborative activities under the framework of the
Gender and Development (GAD) Plan of Action 2002-2007. With such a mode of collaboration, the
deliberations in the current meeting would feed into various normative activities within the programme
area of gender and natural resource management.



Zahid Hossain
PROSHIKA, Bangladesh

This paper examines the role of rural women in local agrobiodiversity conservation, and its attendant
needs and problems in Bangladesh. In a country where agriculture contributes 30 percent to GDP and is
the dominant source of livelihood of a rapidly expanding population of 111 million, agrobiodiversity is an
important asset.

The loss of agrobiodiversity in Bangladesh is a complex process that is attributed to different factors,
including acute poverty in rural areas and inequities in land ownership and wealth. Other causes include
high rural-urban migration and conversion of agricultural lands to shrimp culture.

Gender inequities that hinder the country’s ability to achieve its full potential have implications on
agrobiodiversity conservation. It is important to note that while Bangladesh has one of the lowest literacy
rates in the world at 32.4 percent, the literacy rate among women is even lower (25.5 percent). Yet,
women directly participate in many field activities such as seed production, processing and other post-
harvest activities, and actively conserve agrobiodiversity as preservers and consumers. These roles,
however, have remained misunderstood, unrecognized and ignored by policymakers and development
planners at the national level. The National Plan of Action for Women’s Advancement, for instance, has
been put in place to enhance the roles of women in food security and resource management. However, no
effective effort has been made towards improving women’s contributions and opportunities in local
agrobiodiversity conservation.

To improve the overall situation of rural women in the country and to enhance their contribution in
agrobiodiversity conservation, steps should be taken to address the constraints they face and to foster a
congenial atmosphere for agrobiodiversity conservation at the local level. Such an atmosphere should
provide enough opportunities for women’s participation.

PROSHIKA, one of the largest non-governmental organizations in Bangladesh, has been trying to
conserve local agrobiodiversity through the direct participation of women at the community level in
sustainable crop production and diversified farming systems. It has created an Integrated Multisectoral
Women’s Development Programme, which emphasizes equal opportunities among men and women.
About 62 percent of its groups are women who are involved in agricultural programmes, namely: (a)
agriculture in crop; (b) homestead gardening to improve the nutritional status of marginal groups (72
percent are women); and (c) vegetable seed production (2 097 females involved). Other related activities
include a revolving loan fund, training, demonstration farms, 500 of which have been put up, and
government-supported participatory forest management.


Mumta Chhetri and Nar Bahadur Adhikari
Renewable Natural Resources Research Centre (RNR-RC), Bhutan

Bhutan is declared as one of the ten global “hot spots” for the conservation of biological diversity.
Although women in the country play an active role in agrobiodiversity conservation, no gender-specific
case studies have been carried out in relation to biodiversity management and food security. Hence, this
paper focuses on a mini case study on gender analysis conducted by the Renewable Natural Resources
Research Centre (RNR-RC) and describes the agronomic context of women’s participation in
agrobiodiversity conservation in Bhutan.

Bhutanese society is predominantly equitable in terms of gender. Women enjoy equity before the law and
are actively involved in socioeconomic and political life. In fact, the inheritance law is favourable to
women who head most of the households. An estimated 62 percent of the women are involved in
agriculture. Except for ploughing and building terraces, women do most of the production and post-
production work. In addition, they are engaged in other income-generating activities such as selling
textiles and handicrafts, and they work as hired labourers. In walled forest areas, women gather fuelwood,
leaf litter and fodder for local community use.

In a farmer field school on plant genetic resources conservation, women are highly involved since they
make the final decisions on selecting the best varieties in terms of cooking quality and taste. Activities
under the participatory varietal selection project being implemented by RNR-RC with support from the
Biodiversity Use and Conservation in Asia Programme (BUCAP) include upland rice germplasm
collection and evaluation, participatory pedigree selection of entries in F4 generation, and management
and selection of degenerated seeds.


Xu Jianchu and Yang Yongping
Centre for Biodiversity and Indigenous Knowledge (CBIK), China

Agrobiodiversity is one of the most important resources that indigenous communities should have control
over and access to. It can be defined as the synergy and interaction among organisms, land, technology
and social organisms that serve to fulfil production goals and sustain livelihood systems. In this paper, the
conservation of taro in Southwest China is described using ethnobotanical methods. The ethnobotanical
surveys involved farmers in identifying distinct taro types and grouping them according to their
associated knowledge and morphological classification.

The wild types of taro are mostly found in humid habitats such as swamps, waterfalls, hot springs, and
riverbanks. The cultivated taro is adapted to a range of microenvironments, namely, swidden fallow
fields, permanent uplands, rainfed and irrigated rice fields, and home gardens. Some of the primitive
cultivars tend to have narrow ecological niches.

Farmers report that all cultivars in swidden agro-ecosystems exhibit flowering. This may be due to the
humid tropical environment and the fact that farmers maintain them in fallow fields for many years.
Cultivars with edible inflorescences have high market value and hence, are increasingly grown by
farmers. The cultivation of the single corm type, for instance, is becoming popular because of its good
taste, cooking quality and market potential. However, the germplasm of some traditional cultivars such as
gouzhuayu is diminishing, as farmers commonly plant only three to five cultivars in their fields.

In general, the ethnobotanical survey found that there remains considerable interest by farmers and
consumers on different types of taro and their uses. Moreover, different cultural contexts provide different
perspectives on agrobiodiversity such as those that emphasize reciprocal relationships and the nurturing
of life, which are related to culture, spirituality, humanity and nature.

A key to maintaining the diversity of taros is the ability to maintain and move distinct taro populations
across environments and statuses. And, as genetic material has its links to culture, the introduction and
exchange of new genetic materials need cultural integration. The use of wild, managed and intensively
cultivated taros as a single complex may be the best way to maintain taro diversity within Yunnan.



R. Rengalakshmi (coordinator), G. Alagukannan, N. Anilkumar, V. Arivudai Nambi,
V. Balakrishnan, K. Balasubramanian, Bibhu Prasad Mohanty, D. Dhanapal, M. Geetharani,
G. Girigan, Hemal Kavinde, Israel Oliver King, Prathiba Joy, T. Ravishankar, Saujanendra Swain,
Sushanta Chaudary, P. Thamizoli, Trilochan Ray and L. Vedavalli
M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), India

The rate of agrobiodiversity loss has been hastened by the combination of several economic, social,
environmental and political factors in many marginal hilly ecosystems. Such ecosystems are characterized
by diversity in both space and time dimensions. The conservation of agrobiodiversity in the context of
global food security assumes greater importance with specific reference to women.

This study focuses on understanding gender roles, responsibilities, and access and control over resources
of rural and tribal women in agrobiodiversity conservation in three different field sites. The study areas
are the Jeypore tract of Orissa, Wayanad region of Kerala and Kolli hills of Tamil Nadu. The focus crops
are traditional rice cultivars in the former two sites and minor millet species in the third case.

The study attempted to use multidimensional approaches and strategies by creating partnerships with
local communities in promoting women’s role in agrobiodiversity conservation. These multidimensional
strategies include:
a) creating an economic stake in conservation by establishing market linkages at local, regional
and international levels;
b) crop development through participatory productivity enhancement and breeding;
c) seed supply through community seed banks;
d) reducing the drudgery in post-production processes;
e) recognizing and rewarding women’s contributions to conservation through documentation
and policies; and,
f) institutional partnerships and building community ownership among the local people.

This paper primarily deals with gender relationships and gender-sensitive strategies in promoting
conservation of agrobiodiversity through partnerships with local communities. It recommends that it is
important to internalize agronomic and genetic needs in agricultural research for directing participatory
generation of technologies for productivity enhancement. In addition, the creation of new market channels
and enhanced access to information to use niche markets (i.e. organic products) can facilitate
conservation. Moreover, benefit-sharing methodologies need to be advanced to provide incentives for
women conservators, as well as for local communities.

For policy recommendation, the paper highlighted the recognition of women farmers’ capacity in seed
management, which can be the primary step in building an integrated and effective system for the use,
enhancement and conservation of on-farm crop genetic diversity.


Herry Yogaswara
Indonesian Institutes of Sciences and Nippon Foundation, Indonesia

The Dani are an indigenous community that dwells in the Balliem Valley of the Jayawijaya district of
Irian Jaya or West Papua, Indonesia. They maintain crops of hipere or sweet potato (Ipomea batatas, sp)
as staple food and pig feed, as well as for medicinal and ritual purposes. They grow sweet potato in two
kinds of ecosystems: swampy and hilly mountainous areas or upland. In swampy areas, they practise the
wen hipere system, using alluvial wetlands in the valley. The system is characterized by raised beds and
drainage ditches. The upland is called yawu , with or without a terrace system. Both ecosystems have
different soil types, and are planted with sweet potato varieties suitable to their respective soil conditions.

This study focused on the varietal level of diversity of sweet potato, although it also explored the
production system, uses of sweet potato, and gender division of labour. Three factors are significant in
supporting sweet potato agrobiodiversity conservation, namely:
a) the intrinsic value of sweet potato to the Dani culture for ritual purposes, food and as security
in crisis situations, such as a serious calamity;
b) the existence of local, national and international development agencies, such as the
International Potato Centre, Indonesian Institute of Sciences, local agricultural offices and
universities; and,
c) market demand from migrants, who like to process sweet potato for business and for daily
consumption. It encourages the production of more diverse sweet potatoes, including
traditional or original varieties.

In many cases, change comes as a threat to agrobiodiversity conservation. However, instances of change
are viewed as inevitable due to increasing population growth, development activities and conversion of
lands from sweet potato gardens to roads and buildings. Recently, farmers’ extensive adoption of wet-rice
(sawah) triggered the conversion of more sweet potato gardens to sawah.

Undoubtedly, the role of Dani women in sweet potato cultivation is very significant, as well as their role
in the family and community. They take care of the children, cook, and serve in various rituals. Moreover,
the Dani women are mostly responsible for planting, maintaining and harvesting sweet potato. Post-
harvest management, such as selecting sweet potato for food, pig feed, and marketing are also women’s
work. However, women are constrained by factors that go beyond their traditional role, especially in
conservation management. Women traditionally “put themselves behind” the men. Moreover, there is not
enough effort to strengthen women’s roles in the world outside their house, especially in the market

The study recommends a policy to improve the role of women in development programmes. It also
recommends preparation and capacity building among the Dani women at the field level to deal with the
changing local market situation.


Viengsavay Sengsoulivong
National Integrated Pest Management Programme, Lao PDR

This paper describes the participation of women in promoting rice diversity in Lao PDR. This is within
the context of rapid changes in the economy and development in the country due to the introduction and
adoption of improved rice varieties as well as the open market economy.

The ecosystem of Lao PDR is mostly hilly and mountainous with some fertile floodplains. It lies within
the primary centre of origin and domestication of Asian rice varieties, particularly of glutinous rice. In
fact, an estimated 80 percent of its rice area is planted with glutinous rice, the people’s staple food. The
other food crops are maize and tuber crops (taro and cassava). The Lao-IRRI project reported a collection
of 13 193 samples from all over the country representing 3 200 varieties, of which 85.5 percent are
glutinous types.

The Biodiversity Use and Conservation in Asia Programme is a Lao PDR country project funded by the
Development Fund of Norway. The project was started in 2000. It is an institutional experiment that
brings together extension and research institutions in active implemention and monitoring of community-
based projects in cooperation with Oxfam Solidarity Belgium. BUCAP Lao PDR is designed to serve as a
model of a multi-stakeholder approach to project management. At the village level, it is a follow-up
activity of integrated pest management and builds on its methodologies by implementing farmer field
schools to enhance farmers’ capacity to conduct learning experiments on rice.

Women play a significant role in implementing BUCAP. Aside from their participation at the village
level, women also run BUCAP at the provincial and national levels. To date, 67 women have been trained
by the BUCAP project for conservation, breeding and selection of local varieties. In varietal selection,
aroma and good eating quality of rice are usually the preferred characteristics of women farmers while
men prefer high yields. For women, plant height is not as important as good-yield and good-quality rice

There are many lessons on agrobiodiversity conservation and the role of women from BUCAP. Since
BUCAP’s aim is policy advocacy, it has influenced the direction of NARC by directly engaging the
centre in decentralized research on rice breeding and conservation. The full support of the Ministry of
Agriculture to the programme is an indication of the importance given by the government to plant genetic
conservation and improvement. It is hoped that this commitment can be translated into more concrete


Chanda Gurung
Resources Himalayas, Nepal

This paper records the experiences from the project “Gender, ethnicity and agrobiodiversity management
in the Eastern Himalayas” funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). The project
had two components: (a) a research study component, which was conducted in three sites: Sikkim (India),
Nagaland (Northeast India) and Sankhuwasabha (Eastern Nepal), representing three ethnic groups in the
study, and (b) an action research component on participatory seed management conducted in three
adjoining village development committees of the Sankhuwasabha district in Eastern Nepal. The objective
of the first component was to understand the causal links between ethnicity and gender, and how these
components affect agrobiodiversity management practices. The second component aimed to enhance local
capacities for effective management of existing genetic resources through the development of crop
improvement skills.

The research found that within the context of agrobiodiversity management, gender relations are well
reflected in the practices of the ethnic groups. Men and women’s roles, knowledge and “spaces” are well
defined at all the levels of agrobiodiversity (agro-ecosystems, species and genetic levels). With the
introduction of the new technologies, dominant land use patterns emerged in the project communities that
were associated with gender categories. Wet terraced fields were classified as a “male domain” while
home gardens were considered as a “female domain” by the three ethnic groups. Swidden areas were
categorized differently among the three ethnic groups. Among the Lepchas, these areas are a “joint
domain” of men and women. However, among the Nagas, swidden areas are a “female domain”, while
the Rais consider them as a “male domain”. Agroforestry is a land use which is particularly associated
with the Lepchas. With cardamon as the main cash crop, agroforestry areas are regarded as “male

The action research component on participatory seed management provided a strategy that supports
agrobiodiversity conservation while helping the community overcome the problem of food shortage. The
initiative was implemented among the Rais in the Sankhuwasabha district in Eastern Nepal, a food-
deficient area. The research process involved two stages: diagnostic stage and seed management stage, in
which seed enhancement technology was introduced.

The dynamics and complexities of gender relations within households and communities came about in
their present form as a result of historical encounters and movements of people and hegemonies across the
borders of the Himalayan region. These influence, and are reflected in, the systems of agrobiodiversity
management of the community. In such systems, women play key roles as principal custodians of
agrobiodiversity due to the responsibilities assigned to them. Traditional systems of seed management,
food habits, food preferences and food preparation methods, rituals and socioeconomic significance
attached to certain crops are all factors on which crop diversity depends, and are highly related to what
women do and value.

The paper puts forward the following recommendations: (a) provide institutional support to the informal
networks of farmers; (b) ensure support of government agencies for local agrobiodiversity conservation
initiatives; (c) provide methods for adding value to women’s indigenous knowledge on increasing
diversity in crop species and varieties, and (d) set up a women’s network which will serve as the “voice”
of women farmers.


Mariliza V. Ticsay and Zenaida F. Toquero
SEAMEO-SEARCA, Philippines

The study conducted in the Cordilleras, Northern Philippines, partly aimed to identify and investigate bio-
social factors influencing resource use, management and conservation of biodiversity (as measured in
taxonomic diversity) using the household as the unit of analysis. Two case studies were presented to
illustrate gender roles within the household on management strategies employed by Ayangan farmers to
enhance biodiversity in the area.

Results of the study indicated that the cropping system in Haliap-Panubtuban is the result of farmers’
perceptions of the subsistence requirements of their households, as well as of the need for some surplus to
meet other requirements including cash and offerings during cultural feasts and rituals. As the cash and
material needs of the households increase, modifications in the traditional resource management systems
are made to include more income-generating activities. The Ayangan’s resource bases appeared to be
associated with some well-defined gender roles. The men took charge of higher elevations, especially for
the initial opening and clearing of agricultural lands. The women, on the other hand, took care of the
swidden and home gardens, especially in the aspects of planting, weeding, harvesting and processing
(including cleaning, drying, seed selection and grading, storage, etc) of agricultural products.

The study outcome indicated that these gender roles and responsibilities might change through time, as
influenced by various factors such as sociocultural adjustments, demographic changes, economic and
institutional variables, and government policies and programmes. It can be said, therefore, that the
conservation of biodiversity does not only involve species or habitat preservation, but proper resource
management and use to maximize the benefits that these species provide and maintain their potential for
future needs. In this perspective, biodiversity conservation cannot be separated from the gender
dimension and human needs, and the process of sustainable development.

The paper further recommends that changes in cropping patterns and biodiversity conservation have to be
assessed both from an environmental and from a gender perspective. Finally, there is a need to know how
men and women’s perceptions are changing as livelihoods are in transition (from home- to market-
oriented economy) and as education and market forces are affecting people’s aspirations.


Dindo Campilan, Raul Boncodin, Irene Adion and Rizalina Mondala
CIP-UPWARD, Philippines

The paper describes a FAO-funded UPWARD project which seeks to empirically reexamine the notion of
women in root crop livelihood as “secondary farmers of secondary crops”. The meta-analysis project
consists of 10 case studies in the Philippines focusing on inter-relationships between and among root crop
agriculture and genetic resources conservation, sustainable livelihood and food security, and gender roles
and householding. These are explored in this paper, and for the purpose of the workshop, through the case
of sweet potato livelihood in Central Luzon, Philippines. The case specifically analyses the sweet potato
livelihood in Central Luzon, local management of sweet potato diversity in a changing livelihood system,
role of women in the local sweet potato livelihood system, and finally, some formative lessons.

In Central Luzon, sweet potato is traditionally a post-rice crop grown in lowland and mid-elevation areas.
Sweet potato cultivation is part of a diverse livelihood portfolio maintained by local farming households,
which includes on-farm, off-farm and non-farm activities. Cultivation, planting materials production and
trading of sweet potato are among the key livelihoods of local households. The sweet potato livelihood
system in Central Luzon has undergone rapid transformations resulting from changes in the agro-
environment, market trends and production constraints. These changes in the livelihood system have had
a key influence on the local management of sweet potato cultivar diversity. Market diversification and
adaptability to natural stresses have been positive factors, while single-market dominance has been a
negative factor. High susceptibility of dominant cultivars to a major disease led local households to
recognize the value of sweet potato diversity.

Women play key livelihood roles among local farming households. They participate in nearly three
fourths of household livelihood activities – mainly in raising animals and in sweet potato cultivation. In
sweet potato livelihood, women act as managers of cultivar diversity as they are in charge of selecting and
preparing planting materials. They also participate in field planting. Women are also active learners; they
comprised nearly half of the participants in the field schools conducted, and obtained knowledge test
scores that were comparable to those of their male counterparts. However, women tended to have more
erratic attendance in training sessions compared to men. This was usually due to their multiple and often
conflicting roles in the household. Given women’s distinct roles and circumstances, gender-sensitive
research and development interventions are necessary so that they can contribute more effectively to
sustainable livelihood and to the management of genetic resources.


Triyada Trimanka
Northern Development Foundation, Thailand

Whilst focusing on the gender perspective, this paper discusses the issue of agrobiodiversity and natural
resource management by a local community in the highland area of Northern Thailand inhabited by the
Karen, one of its ethnic groups. It examines their situation, the critical external and internal factors
influencing local communities in agrobiodiversity conservation and management, and gender roles in
agrobiodiversity and community-based natural resource management, with particular attention to
women’s involvement.

The upper northern region in Thailand can be classified into three agro-ecological zones, namely lowland,
highland and intermediate zones. The highlands are the home of several ethnic minorities that have been
migrating to Thailand for a century. Most of these people traditionally practised swidden agriculture with
rice, corn and opium as main crops. The case studies were conducted in one of the Ban Orn villages
located in the Ping watershed area with 78 households and 422 people. Their knowledge of the traditional
agricultural system of rotational cultivation is the most important knowledge they possess. In rotational
cultivation, villagers grow rice as the main crop, integrated with maize, beans, cucumber, pumpkin,
mustard green, eggplant, taro and other crops, which are associated with supplementary food from forest

Women and men have different roles in rotational cultivation. Field site selection is done by the spiritual
leader, through various rituals in selecting suitable sites from secondary and primary forests. Men cut tree
branches and allow the field to dry for two to three weeks, after which they burn it. Then, they make
planting holes with a sharp stick, while women select the seeds and carry out the planting. The women
have to take care of the field and do the weeding. Women usually do the harvesting, athough both men
and women do threshing. Each village conserves around 25 local varieties of rice. With the traditional
local varieties, the women select the best seeds from the field for the next crop planting. The kitchen is
the best place for keeping seed. Over the stove, they build shelves where seed and agricultural tools are
stored. The tools are kept in the upper shelves, while the middle shelf is used for keeping seed. The seed
and tools get the warmth and smoke from the stove. This helps prevent damage by molds, weevils, ants
and other insects.

The paper recommends strategies to enhance women’s participation in community-based biodiversity
conservation. These are: capacity building among women villagers; increased participation of women and
men in sustainable agriculture development and community-based natural resource management, both at
the community and policy levels; empowerment of women by organizing and strengthening the network
of women organizations; support for exchange of local rice varieties between and among communities;
and support for women village leaders as they network with their male counterparts in other villages and
participate in the development of state laws and policies through advocacy.


A. The consultation process

The participants representing different institutions from seven Asian countries elected the consultation’s
chairperson and rapporteurs, namely Xu Jianchu (China) and Raj Rengalakshmi (Ms) (India),
respectively. Selected country representatives presented case papers on agrobiodiversity conservation and
the role of women with brief discussions after each presentation.

As a prelude to the presentation of case papers, an overview of challenges and issues in agrobiodiversity
conservation in Asia was presented by John Mackinnon, co-director of the ASEAN Regional Center for
Biodiversity Conservation (ARCBC). Dr Mackinnon indicated that throughout the history of human
civilisation, biodiversity conservation has been an intrinsic part of systems for managing agriculture.
Furthermore, increasing attention is now being given to women who are recognized to have traditionally
played a key role as agrobiodiversity managers.

After the series of paper presentations, the group identified emerging issues which cut across the various
cases. The group produced a thematic synthesis of the discussions through the guidance of resource
persons, namely:
a) Wilhelmina Pelegrina, on needs and problems in community-based agrobiodiversity
conservation. Ms Pelegrina is Technical Officer of the Southeast Asia Regional Institute for
Community Education (SEARICE), an NGO based in Manila, Philippines, working on
community-based plant genetic resource conservation and use;
b) Gelia Castillo, on emerging approaches in community-based agrobiodiversity conservation.
Dr Castillo is senior advisor of CIP-UPWARD;
c) Thelma Paris, on enhancing women’s role in agrobiodiversity conservation (field-level
interventions). Dr Paris is gender specialist at the International Rice Research Institute
(IRRI), Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines; and,
d) Julian Gonsalves, on enhancing women’s role in agrobiodiversity conservation (policy-level
interventions). Dr Gonsalves is also senior advisor of CIP-UPWARD, and former vice-
president of the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR), Silang, Cavite,

Small-group discussions generated recommendations for research, policy and programme development to
improve the contribution and participation of rural women in conserving and improving agrobiodiversity
systems in the Asian region.

The synthesis and recommendations presented in this report were prepared in consultation with the other
participants, including the resource persons. This report was duly approved and adopted unanimously by
the participants on 13 September 2001.

B. Synthesis of discussions

The participants emphasized the importance and appreciated the synergy between and among organisms.
Agrobiodiversity conservation consists of the full range of living resources that are used by human beings
to preserve the balance between society, economy and ecology.

There are three levels of agrobiodiversity: agro-ecosystem diversity, species diversity and variety or
genetic diversity. In this broad sense, agrobiodiversity serves to fulfil production, livelihood and cultural
functions, e.g. plant varieties are grown for rituals and festivals. Rural women are recognized as the
primary managers of agrobiodiversity due to their role in agricultural production and natural resource use.
Rural women maintain local knowledge and cultural traditions associated with plants and production
systems over generations. Their crucial roles as preservers of seed and knowledge and as processors of
food make them important partners in agrobiodiversity conservation.

C. Thematic synthesis

1. Needs and problems in community-based agrobiodiversity conservation

Ms Pelegrina led the discussion summarizing the key needs and problems in community-based agrobio-
diversity conservation. The various country cases presented agro-ecosystems biodiversity in different land
uses such as swidden systems, home gardens, agroforestry systems, wet terrace fields and rainfed/
irrigated lowlands. They also highlighted species and varietal diversity in sweet potato, rice, millet, taro,
vegetables and fruit.

Obstacles to community-based agrobiodiversity conservation were identified in the context of changing
production, market and value (i.e. changes in the human culture) systems. The transition from subsistence
to market economy and from low-input organic farming to high-input agriculture and applications of
genetic engineering have affected people’s values, attitudes and behaviour towards conserving and
managing natural resources. These changes caused the erosion of important local agricultural knowledge
of valuable plant and animal varieties. Based on the country cases, participants identified the following
problems and possibilities in agrobiodiversity conservation:
a. Biological aspects , which include:
• pests and diseases affecting agrobiodiversity
• environmental stresses (e.g. volcanic eruptions, floods, drought)
b. Social aspects , which include:
• low level of awareness and the need to build confidence
• lack of appreciation for multiple uses and value of agrobiodiversity
• inequitable sharing of benefits (i.e. gender and class)
• changes in cultural values that may lead to genetic erosion of agrobiological resources
c. Technical aspects , which include:
• research areas and programmes (i.e. what are the research priorities; priority-setting in seeking
knowledge and developing technologies)

• biosafety, genetically modified organisms and other emerging agricultural technologies
d. Economic aspects , which include:
• markets (to include incentives and disincentives)
• large-scale production and commercialization that leads to diversity loss (i.e. monocropping)
• market niches for diversity (e.g. production of traditional rice varieties for the high-end market)
• livelihood alternatives that promote agrobiodiversity conservation at the same time
• promotion of initiatives that will provide values and incentives for agrobiodiversity conservators
(i.e. community-based biodiversity registry)
e. Political aspects , which include:
• political implications of seed exchange
• Institutional partnerships on agrobiodiversity conservation and use
• property rights on plant genetic resources
• biopiracy protection
• ownership and decisions over plant genetic resources
• contradicting/contradictory government policies (e.g. policy against swiddening in the uplands
and seed laws that limit diversity)
• need for a venue or forum to articulate farmers’ needs
f. Other problems identified include:
• conservation initiatives that do not directly address farmers’ needs
• farmers’ lack of access to genetic resources
• need for capacity building of local communities for seed banking; seed storage techniques; post-
harvest technologies, among others
• lack of infrastructure support (especially for seed banks)
• establishment of essential support systems (e.g. markets)
• environmental stresses
• property rights issues
• use of and relevance of new technologies

2. Emerging approaches to community-based agrobiodiversity conservation

Dr Castillo led the discussion summarizing the emerging approaches to community-based agrobio-
diversity conservation. According to her, community-based approaches to everything have become
fashionable. These include: health programmes, health insurance, agrarian reform, monitoring systems,
minimum basic needs, information systems, fishery, disease control in livestock, coastal resource
management, watershed management and other forms of natural resource management. While these
features will most likely characterize countryside development in the years to come, natural resource
management will be most interesting.

Community-based resource management (CBRM) involves the development of people’s institutions and
technologies for the collective management of natural resources at the local level so that sustainable
benefits could be continuously derived from them. The key word is “community”, which is never defined,
and its existence always assumed. When and how does a collection of households become a community
responsible for managing a common resource for the continuing benefit of all including future

generations? Traditional systems have often been romantically cited for their ability to perform this
function beautifully. However, because of population pressure on the resource, rural-urban migration,
non-agricultural alternatives and the competition and conflict over the use and control of natural
resources, these traditional institutions are also breaking down. Technologies, whether indigenous or
modern, are indispensable in CBRM and so is social organization. They have to come together in a “good
fit” appropriate to changing local, national or global circumstances.

In most instances, the depreciation of the natural resource base is accompanied by a change in traditional
systems of management. Quite often, new systems and new norms are called for to meet entirely new
situations even in old places; and indigenous practices take on changed meanings.

Unlike other participatory efforts, where participation could be an end in itself, the output from CBRM
must always eventually include tangible results such as more trees, more water, less erosion, more fish,
less pollution, and others. Collective institutional arrangements, codes of conduct for the common good,
changes in rules of governance and empowerment of stakeholders are clearly called for; but unless these
lead to physical evidence, CBRM has not done its job. This must be its distinguishing characteristic,
because CBRM must have an impact on the resource base that the community is supposed to manage.

Ironically, most CBRM projects are externally initiated and externally funded and the greatest challenge
lies in achieving the very essence of the approach – i.e. community-based. CBRM as a near-universal
strategy has become a major industry for consulting firms, NGOs, government units, international
development agencies and other entities. Process documentation, monitoring, evaluation, impact
assessment and cost-benefit analysis are essential in learning from these initiatives. At the moment, the
body of knowledge, analysis of assumptions and experience in CBRM is not yet very robust. In the
meantime, faith in the approach needs to be supported by some tough thinking and lots of hard evidence.

a. Linking gender and agrobiodiversity conservation

How can we bring about gender and agrobiodiversity conservation in a community for the purpose of
enhancing the role of women in agrobiodiversity conservation? At the onset, one of the basic premises is
that the mainstream agricultural systems are market-oriented. It is with this premise that the significance
of women’s roles should be seen in the light of changing circumstances, particularly changes in swidden
and upland agricultural systems where agrobiodiversity is presumed to be more diverse.

b. Community-based approach

The case papers described traditional ecologically based, culturally grounded, well-established institutions
and systems for managing and conserving agrobiodiversity. They were community-based initiatives and
not the results of some externally initiated programmes. Some programmes, though, may have had some
indirect influence on the actions of the communities. External actors (researchers, extensionists, NGOs
and other entities) have contributed studies and analyses of these traditional systems to understand and
learn from them.

c. Concepts, tools and techniques

All of the case papers described various tools, techniques, concepts and approaches to community-based
agrobiodiversity conservation or at least some understanding of it. The West Papua study, for example,
used the dominant and residual cultivars surveys, transect walks, community meetings, garden beds and
efforts in nurturing women leaders. Among the Ifugaos in the Philippines, it was reported that they have
many land-use systems for communal areas, private lots, swidden, rice terraces, and home gardens.
Nevertheless, it was observed that among Ifugao households, cash and material needs were increasing,
consequently modifying the system to include more income-generating activities. Different ecosystems
have well-defined gender and age roles that change through time, although household objectives based on
needs primarily determine the choice of crops grown. Home gardens, where crop diversity is high, seem
to be the complete domain of women.

The Yunnan case highlights the link between culture and biodiversity stemming from the local people’s
cosmic vision, and the need to strike a balance between marketed and subsistence crops. Knowledge is
linked to spirituality and also to partnership with the commercial sector. The Northern Thailand story is
an interesting case of conflict between the traditional rotational cultivation and the construction of a new
dam in a protected area. Government policy prohibits rotational cultivation and has declared it punishable
by law. As such, women need to increase capacity to explain rotational cultivation to policymakers and to
recover lost seeds.

In Bangladesh, PROSHIKA programmes on homestead gardening, on participatory forest management
with 909 women groups as caretakers and on local contract growing for traditional vegetable seeds are
illustrative of many initiatives undertaken at field level. It is encouraging to note that at the highest
government level in Bhutan, the green national account policy is in place.

Lao PDR has a different approach – focusing on agrobiodiversity issues in the lowlands and not in the
uplands. This is primarily due to the strategic importance the local people give to glutinous rice. Farmer
field schools have proved to be a popular strategy in making farmers participate in development activities.
In Eastern Nepal, participatory seed management has helped solve the local food deficit problems, while
providing an opportunity for agrobiodiversity conservation. As the ethnic groups promoted diversity in
food production, their preferences and preparation methods placed high value on biodiversity.

MSSRF has three project sites in different ecosystems, but the overall philosophy was to add value to
biodiversity products and to raise to higher levels the value of women as they play their roles in
biodiversity conservation. The foundation has many innovative institutional concepts, which it has
translated into actual undertakings. Among these innovations are:
• finding new uses for minor millets, which are disappearing. In a manner of speaking, minor
millets could become “major millets” for self-help groups of women;
• developing market linkages through niche marketing for specialized products from biodiversity;
• nurturing a shared culture which values bioresource conservation through the community seed
bank, community herbarium, people biodiversity register and seed exchange;
• promoting conservation entrepreneurship to enhance the economic value of biodiversity;

• capacity building and social organization so women can acquire leadership skills, attitudes and
• improving access to data, information and new knowledge to increase awareness on farmers’
rights; and
• developing technologies to enhance productivity, reduce drudgery and improve the economic
value of biodiversity products.

The most vital question that this consultation sought to answer was how to enhance women’s role in
agrobiodiversity conservation. The answer to this question may be in revitalizing or reengineering
traditional systems, or in developing new systems to find viability and added value to bioresources in a
changing world through:
• science and technology
• new collective ethics and cultural values
• biodiversity entrepreneurship
• new institutional arrangements for sharing benefits from the use of biodiversity
• new sets of skills, knowledge and attitudes
• rights of access and control over bioresources
• valuing products from agrobiodiversity
• nurturing links between everyday life, spirituality and biodiversity
• finding new functions for old and traditional products

3. Enhancing rural women’s role in agrobiodiversity conservation: field-level interventions

Dr Paris led the discussion summarizing the main types of field-level interventions for enhancing rural
women’s role in agrobiodiversity conservation. It was recognized that an important challenge in the
consultation was to seek ways of balancing conservation of agrobiodiversity and local livelihood through
rural women’s empowerment and recognizing their different roles.

The various field-level interventions, e.g. research and development programmes, described in the case
papers recognized the need to support women in their role as key actors for agrobiodiversity conservation
since they are:
• managers of some livelihood components in various agro-ecosystems, e.g sweet potato
agriculture on a commercial scale in the Philippines and subsistence scale in Indonesia;
• active participants in daily decisionmaking, e.g. selecting crops and varieties in Bhutan, home
garden management in the Philippines, and processing and post-harvest activities in Bangladesh;
• food collectors and producers, e.g. swidden cultivation among ethnic minorities in Northern
• holders of knowledge on the management of local natural resources, e.g. land use systems in
Eastern Nepal and taro conservation in China; and
• breeders and seed bankers, e.g. stewardship of rice cultivars and millet species in India and
participatory plant breeding on rice in Lao PDR.

However, their contribution to conservation is influenced by:
• ethnicity, although in some tribal communities they are the guardians of local crop and plant
• changing agro-ecosystems, including emerging market opportunities or occurrence of natural
• food habits, such as the influence of western culture on traditional diets;
• existing norms and values that define women’s participation in the dynamics of local society;
• economic wealth, particularly in terms of women’s contribution to and access to household
income; and
• informal and formal education, such as functional literacy among women and how society values
education for women.

Considering the opportunities and constraints discussed earlier, some of the field-level actions that can be
pursued to enhance women’s role in agrobiodiversity conservation are:
• socioeconomic research to assess how women’s roles vary across households and communities;
• inventory of agrobiodiversity domains differentiated along gender lines;
• a more conscientious gender analysis that goes beyond simple comparison of time allocation and
labour contribution between men and women;
• documentation of indigenous knowledge differentiated by gender; and
• indigenous agrobiodiversity monitoring and evaluation that will involve all stakeholders in the

Most important, field-level interventions should not stop at analysis but rather become more action-
oriented. Results of gender analysis need to be incorporated in designing and implementing interventions
that involve introducing gender-responsive technological and social innovations.

4. Enhancing rural women’s role in agrobiodiversity conservation: policy-level implications

Dr Gonsalves led the discussion summarizing policy-level interventions to enhance rural women’s role in
agrobiodiversity conservation.

a. Agrobiodiversity conservation and management

There is a need to distinguish between agrobiodiversity management and conservation. It is recognized
that conservation is an integral component of management. Can one achieve the conservation of
biodiversity when basic needs are not met? In such a context, it is fundamental to address poverty and
food security issues. There is a new wave of interest in food security and nutrition. Therefore, it would be
appropriate to take advantage of this renewed awareness and promote the strategy of food diversity.
Integrated conservation and development frameworks are more conducive to agrobiodiversity
conservation than purely environmental or agronomic approaches.

b. Government policies and agrobiodiversity

Are government policies supportive of agrobiodiversity enrichment? Many government policies tend to
contradict agrobiodiversity conservation (e.g. policies on swidden farming or shifting cultivation and seed
certification). While legislation is important to protect farmers’ rights, it may not necessarily enhance the
use of agrobiodiversity over wider areas. There could be conflict between traditional agricultural practices
that may promote biodiversity locally and government policies that prevent such practices.

c. Need for new research and development paradigms

There is a need for new research and development paradigms that have a livelihood orientation and that
increase scientists’ accountability. Too often agrobiodiversity is equated primarily with crop diversity.
Prevailing perspectives need to be broadened to include trees, livestock, fish and other commodities. It is
possible to simultaneously take advantage of the synergistic value of the multiple components of a single
small farm.

d. Ethnic groups and women

Targeting certain ecological environments (also ethnic minorities or cultural groups) as repositories for
conserving agrobiodiversity such as shifting cultivation, upland and home gardens should be done.
Additionally, it would be appropriate to target ethnic minorities or cultural groups as repositories of local
knowledge and custodians of local biodiversity. As men increasingly depend on off-farm income, women
are expanding their role in food production. Logically, one can conclude that women will have a bigger
responsibility for conserving agrobiodiversity. Land rights of women and command over property
enjoyed by women have a direct impact on biodiversity. Moreover, it is important to consider niche areas
to take advantage of cultural roots of indigenous food preferences and rituals that offer opportunities for
saving diversity.

e. Genetic engineering, biopiracy and agrobiodiversity

The implications of genetic engineering on biodiversity offer cause for concern nowadays. Empirical data
from developed countries suggest that contamination is a bigger concern than losses of traditional
varieties. Biopiracy is a new and real concern affecting how civil society views efforts to share
knowledge and genetic resources.

f. Markets and incentives

A major thrust for conserving agrobiodiversity is to ensure that tangible economic benefits or subsidies
accrue to the majority of the stakeholders by finding and establishing niche markets, organizing niche
groups and making productive niche microenvironments. It would also be appropriate to explore subsidies
for growing traditional crops.


Agrobiodiversity conservation must build upon and strengthen the acknowledged traditional role of
women as conservators of knowledge and genetic resources, especially in the context of livelihood
uncertainty due to rural-urban migration and greater responsibility of women in small farms. These are
suggestive of potential opportunities for supporting and strengthening the role of rural women in
agrobiodiversity conservation.

A. Mechanisms for institutional partnerships

Agrobiodiversity conservation must establish institutional partnerships that work both in the field and at
policy level.
• Local institutional commitment is vital for collaboration and coordination of activities. This will
also ensure sustainability of the programmes even when the original implementers are no longer
working in the area. Likewise, finding experts and local collaborators from the region or project
area who can work with the people and who understand the socioeconomic and cultural context
makes the programme implementation more effective.
• Recognize local capacity, and help train or harness skills for programme involvement. Research
and extension activities should enable and empower the stakeholders.
• Establish a link from the community to the NGOs, local governments and other institutions by
building the people’s negotiation and language skills, and organize forums as venues for voicing
out the needs and problems of the communities.
• At the community level, people’s organizations need mediators to help source and administer
funds for agrobiodiversity activities. Counter-parting or sharing of funds and resources should be
encouraged to discourage a dole-out mentality among local communities, whilst nurturing a sense
of ownership of the project instead. To effectively run projects, flexibility in budgeting is needed.
Donor policies should be discussed and strong advocacy for the national government’s allocation
for agrobiodiversity conservation programmes should be undertaken.
• Multisectoral partnerships are encouraged, but the terms and conditions should provide a clear
path to avoid misunderstandings. These partnerships should be forged between and among
institutions, NGOs, local government agencies, researchers, people or communities and scientists.

B. Research, development and extension interventions

• Recognize, reward and support the traditional agrobiodiversity conservation activities of women
and men through national legislation; evolve economic incentives for promoting agrobiodiversity
• Enhance access to local seed resources through community seed banks.

• Chronicle the community-level agrobiodiversity by setting up registers and inventories through
partnership with local communities, integrating gender perspectives.
• Identify alternative livelihood enterprises and technologies based on traditional knowledge and
practices for women and youth.
• Enhance women’s access to information and technology by empowering them.
• Develop ethical standards for doing research and development work, especially in culturally
sensitive areas.
• Support in-situ sustainable livelihood for women, as well as for the young generation.
• Promote agrobiodiversity conservation through community-based education for the youth.
• Enhance gender equity in terms of access to land, genetic resources and information.
• Knowledge is a social construct encoded in the culture and language of each ethnic group. Hence,
research and action require a holistic approach for understanding and reinforcing the spiritual and
practical values of indigenous practices dealing with the conservation of agrobiodiversity.
• Support farmers’ networks in conducting seed fairs, knowledge and seed/planting material
exchanges and cross visits.
• Promote revival of rituals and cultural festivals that encourage agrobiodiversity conservation.
• Adopt ecosystem-based R&D approaches that emphasize agrobiodiversity management of crops,
trees, fish and livestock. This is in keeping with the framework set by the Convention on
Biodiversity, which encourages conservation, sustainable use and equitable sharing of benefits.
• Integrate into R&D efforts the conservation and management of the rich cultural heritage and
diversity. Opportunities need to be provided especially for those in cultural regions dominated by
indigenous people and ethnic minorities.

C. Policy development

• Conduct policy analysis for promoting agrobiodiversity initiatives.
• Support location-specific nutrition and food diversity efforts in achieving human nutrition and
conservation promotion goals.
• Establish biosafety regulations to protect agrobiodiversity from gene contamination from
genetically modified organisms.
• Recognize traditional cultivars by incorporating women’s knowledge in formal seed laws.
• Support grassroots-level informal institutions to institutionalize the activities.
• Establish an incentive structure, i.e. reducing tax levels to promote agrobiodiversity or green
• Evolve gender-sensitive legislation to protect farmers’ rights in addition to breeders’ rights.

D. Networking and capacity building

• Conduct information, education and communication campaigns on biopiracy and other related
issues for local communities, NGOs and research institutions.

• Support networking with local institutions and conducting regular training and capacity-building
programmes on agrobiodiversity conservation.
• Organize policymakers’ workshops on issues related to agrobiodiversity conservation.
• Develop and pilot-test models of benefit-sharing mechanisms for traditional cultivars/farmer-
conserved and -developed varieties.

E. Comments from resource persons

The presentation of recommendations was followed by a plenary discussion during which participants
reacted to and proposed suggestions for their finalization and unanimous adoption as consultation output.
Providing assistance to this process were two resource persons, namely Arma Bertuso (Ms), a specialist in
gender and genetic resources conservation issues from SEARICE; and Arnold Garcia, head of the Natural
Resource Management Programme of SEAMEO-SEARCA.

The following are the resource persons’ summarized comments to the group’s synthesis and
• The presentation is extensive and comprehensive and touches on the significant issues and
problems of agrobiodiversity conservation and the role of women.
• Farmers’ use of high-yielding varieties illustrates a good balance between agrobiodiversity
conservation and food security considerations. In countries like Myanmar, addressing the
pressing need to produce more food for a starving population while conserving agrobiodiversity
promotes a more sustainable development. Technologies to generate more livelihood options
should be provided, including infrastructure and other support services such as production loans.
• Women’s contribution to agrobiodiversity conservation must be recognized. Emphasis on gender
differentiation and on the contribution of different age groups should not be overlooked as far as
community agrobiodiversity conservation efforts are concerned.
• In terms of methods in agrobiodiversity conservation, women’s roles in major and minor crops
must be given equal focus in a situational analysis.
• Community organizing for agrobiodiversity conservation should involve households comprised
of women, men and children.
• More initiatives on women in participatory plant breeding should be carried out in all
participating countries.
• In the conduct of research, institutional partnerships should strengthen gender responsiveness.
• Researchers should not only have the skills and knowledge in agrobiodiversity conservation, but
also internalize gender concerns and be able to integrate them into their work.



Country representatives

1. Xu Jianchu
Centre for Biodiversity and Indigenous Knowledge, Zhonghuandasha, 3rd floor, Yanjiadi, Kunming
650034, Yunnan, China
Tel: (86 871) 412 3519
Fax: (86 871) 412 4871

2. Viengsavay Sengsoulivong
National IPM Programme, Agriculture and Extension Agency, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry,
Department of Agriculture, National Plant Protection Centre, Vientiane, Lao PDR
Tel: (86 52) 181 2130
Fax: (86 52) 150 7605

3. Herry Yogaswara
Indonesian Institutes of Sciences and Nippon Foundation, Jln. Jendral Gatot Subroto 10
Jakarta, Indonesia
Tel: (62 21) 522 1687
Fax: (62 21) 520 7205

4. Nar Bahadur Adhikari
Renewable Natural Resources Research Centre (RNR-RC), Khangma, Trashigang DRDS, MOA, Po,
Kanglung Trashigang, Bhutan
Tel: (9750) 453 5122; (9750) 453 5193
Fax: (9750) 453 5132

5. Triyada Trimanka
Project of Gender, Empower and Knowledge
Northern Development Foundation, 77/1 Moo 5 Suthep District, Maung, Chiang Mai 50200,

Tel: (66 5) 381 0623, 381 0624
Fax: (66 1) 700 0653

6. Mariliza V. Ticsay
Biodiversity Research Programme, Natural Resource Management Programme
SEAMEO Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture
College 4031, Laguna, Philippines
Tel: (63 49 ) 536 2290 loc 407; Cell phone: (0919) 886 3029
Fax: (63 49) 536 4105

7. Raj Rengalakshmi
M.S.Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai – 600 113, India
Tel.: (91 44) 254 1229
Fax: (91 44) 254 1319

Resource persons

8. Thelma Paris
Social Science Division, International Rice Research Institute, Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines
Tel: (63 49) 536 2701 up to 5

9. John Mackinnon
ASEAN Regional Center for Biodiversity Conservation, Philippines
Tel: (63 49) 536 6042

10. Gelia Castillo
International Potato Center – Users’ Perspectives With Agricultural Research and Development
c/o IRRI DAPO 7777, Metro Manila
Tel: (63 49) 536 0235
Fax: (63 49) 536 1662

11. Julian Gonsalves
International Potato Center – Users’ Perspectives with Agricultural Research and Development
c/o IRRI DAPO 7777, Metro Manila

Tel: (63 49) 536 0235 ; 046 413 2806
Fax: (63 49) 536 1662

12. Gil Saguiguit
BRP-SEARCA, College, Laguna, Philippines
Tel.: (63 49) 536 2290/3459 # 147
13. Wilhelmina Pelegrina
SEARICE, Unit 331 Eagle Court Condominium, 26 Matalino St., Diliman, Quezon City,
Tel: (63 2) 433 7182
Fax: (63 2) 922 6710

14. Arma Bertuso
SEARICE, Unit 331 Eagle Court Condominium, 26 Matalino St., Diliman, Quezon City,
Tel: (63 2) 433 7182
Fax: (63 2) 922 6710

Organizing committee

15. Revathi Balakrishnan
FAO Regional Office for Asia & the Pacific, 39 Phra Atit Road, Bangkok 10200
Tel: (66 2) 697 4148
Fax: (66 2) 697 4445

16. Dindo Campilan
International Potato Center – Users’ Perspectives with Agricultural Research and Development
c/o IRRI DAPO 7777, Metro Manila
Tel: (63 49) 5360235
Fax: 63 49 5361662
E-mail: or

17. Zenaida Toquero
BRP-SEARCA, College, Laguna, Philippines
Tel.: (63 49) 536 2290/3459 loc 147


18. Belita A. Vega
Centre for Social Research
Leyte State University, ViSCA, Baybay, Leyte, Philippines
Tel: (63 53) 335 2621
Fax: (63 53) 335 2621

19. Raul Boncodin
International Potato Center – Users’ Perspectives with Agricultural Research and Development
c/o IRRI DAPO 7777, Metro Manila
Tel: (63 49) 536 0235
Fax: (63 49) 536 1662
E-mail: or

20. Carlos Basilio
International Potato Center – Users’ Perspectives with Agricultural Research and Development
c/o IRRI DAPO 7777, Metro Manila
Tel: (63 49) 536 0235
Fax: (63 49) 536 1662
E-mail: or

21. Cherry Bagalanon
International Potato Center – Users’ Perspectives with Agricultural Research and Development
c/o IRRI DAPO 7777, Metro Manila
Tel: (63 49) 536 0235
Fax: (63 49) 536 1662


22. Aphatsorn Sombunwatthanakon
Davao River Conservation & Development Coordinating Committee, Room 9, Sangguniang
Panlunsod Bldg
San Pedro St., Davao City 8000, Philippines
Tel: (63 82) 222 0855 # 607

23. Martin T. Obrero
Public Mkt Bldg, Agdao
8000, Davao City, Philippines
Tel: (63 82) 227 2655, Cell phone: (0919) 232 1129


Date/Ti me

09 Sept. Arrival of participants

10 Sept.
0830-1000 Opening programme
1000-1020 Coffee break
1020-1040 Formation of working groups and election of officers
Facilitator: Belita Vega
1040-1220 Paper presentation and general discussion: Philippines and Indonesia
Facilitator: Belita Vega
The role of women in sweet potato conservation: a study of the Dani people in Balliem
Valley, Irian Jayat, Indonesia
Herry Yogaswara, Indonesian Institutes of Sciences and the Nippon Foundation
Gender roles in the traditional swidden-based production system of the Ayangan of
Haliap Panubtuban, Asipolo, Ifugao, Philippines
Mariliza Ticsay and Zenaida Toquero, SEAMEO-SEARCA
1220-1345 Lunch break
1345-1515 Paper presentation and general discussion: China, Thailand, Bhutan and Lao PDR
Facilitator: Mariliza Ticsay
Domestication of taro Colocasia esculenta and its application to in-situ agrobiodiversity
conservation in Yunnan, Southwest China
Xu Jianchu, Centre for Biodiversity and Indigenous Knowledge
Traditional cultivation and local variety conservation: gender role case studies from
Northern Thailand
Triyada Trimanka, Northern Development Foundation
1515-1530 Coffee break
1530-1700 Agrobiodiversity conservation and the role of women in Bhutan: an overview
Nar Bahadur Adhikari, Khangma Research Centre
Women and agrobiodiversity conservation in Lao PDR
Viengsavay Sengsoulivong, National IPM Programme
1900-2100 Welcome dinner

11 Sept.
0830-1000 Paper presentation and general discussion: Bangladesh, Nepal, India and UPWARD
Facilitator: Carlos Basilio
Rural women’s role in local agrobiodiversity conservation in Bangladesh: the
PROSHIKA perspective
Zahid Hossain, PROSHIKA
Ethnic communities and agrobiodiversity conservation in the Eastern Himalayas
Chanda Gurung, Resources Himalaya
1000-1015 Coffee break
1015-1145 Role of rural and tribal women in agrobiodiversity conservation: a case study
R. Rengalakshmi, MS Swaminathan Research Foundation
Secondary crops for secondary farmers? Meta-analysis of women's role in rootcrop
livelihood in the Philippines
Dindo Campilan, CIP-UPWARD

1145-1330 Lunch break
1330-1500 Thematic synthesis and discussion
Needs and problems in community-based agrobiodiversity conservation
Wilhelmina Pelegrina, SEARICE
Emerging approaches in community-based agrobiodiversity conservation
Gelia Castillo, CIP-UPWARD
1500-1515 Coffee break
1515-1645 Enhancing women’s role in agrobiodiversity conservation: field-level interventions
Thelma Paris, IRRI
Enhancing women’s role in agrobiodiversity conservation: policy-level interventions
Julian Gonsalves, CIP-UPWARD

12 Sept.
0830-1200 Small-group discussion on gender-responsive R&D agenda and policy support for
community-based agrobiodiversity conservation
Facilitator: Dindo Campilan
1200-1330 Lunch break
1330-1530 Presentation of the workshop output
Group rapporteurs
1530-1545 Coffee break
1545-1645 Preparation of the working group report
Facilitator: Belita Vega

13 Sept.
0830-1200 Closing programme
Facilitator: Raul Boncodin
Presentation of the working group report
Chairperson of the working group
Response from panel of resource persons
Teresita Borromeo, UPLB
Arma Bertuso, SEARICE
Jocelyn de Leon, DENR-PAWB
Gil Saguiguit, SEARCA
Distribution of certificates
Impression from participants and resource persons
Closing remarks
Revathi Balakrishnan, FAO-RAP
1200-1330 Lunch break
1330-1600 Participants: Visit to the Los Baños science community
Facilitator: Cherry Bagalanon
Steering committee: Post-workshop meeting
Facilitator: Dindo Campilan

14 Sept. Departure of participants


• Gender and natural resources homepage
• Farmers’ rights in the conservation and use of
plant genetic resources: a gender perspective, Bunning & Hill – 1996 (A similar article can be
found at – Women and farmers’ rights: farmers’
rights in the conservation and use of plant genetic resources: who are the farmers? – Bunning &
Hill, 1996)
• Case study series on gender and plant genetic resource
management – IPGRI – FAO collaboration
• Case study series on gender and biodiversity management
in Asia
• - Fact sheet on Women – Users, preservers
and managers of agrobiodiversity (pdf file 182K)
• IPGRI – FAO collaboration
• LinKS project homepage
• Fact sheet on women’s access to land