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Conference Name Women in Puerto Rico´s Agriculture Speak Up

Gladys González

Summary

Data on the participation of women in agricultural activities, as agribusiness women, farmers, administrators, and farm labor in Puerto Rico is incomplete and inacurate. Either females do not identify or consider themselves as the owner or data are not collected by gender. Official data from the University of Puerto Rico- Agricultural Extension Service show that a high percentage of participants in trainings and other educational activities of the Agriculture, Marketing and Natural Resouces Program have been males. Women, therefore, have no voice and no face in the design and implementation of policies and programs.

A needs assessment and a pilot initiative served as a base to the project Entrepreneurship Center for Women in Puerto Rico┬┤s Agriculture, supported by USDA/CSREES 2007 Competitive Grant by means of Southern Region Risk Management Education Center, Texas A & M University. One group from four municipalities in the central mountains and a second group with farms in seven municipalities in the South Western part of the Island, along with extension field personnel from participating municipalities have approved a one semestre each basic and advanced courses. The educational activities were conceived and designed to help participants learn business skills along with self-esteem enhacement activities.

Assessment via pre and post tests, nominal groups and personal testimonies show and document favorable changes in knowledge and implementation of new knowledge in managing the business and family life of participants. The author shows how they are now speaking up and claiming their place in this important economic sector.

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