HANOVER, GERMANY – In a resounding celebration of women’s crucial role in agriculture, Dr. Juana T. Tapel, the Assistant Director of the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agricultural and Fisheries Engineering (DA-BAFE), proudly served as the only Filipina and one of the eight esteemed jury members for the “Search of Women in Ag Awards 2023.”
The recognition, conferred by the DLG (German Agricultural Society) and Women in Ag Magazine, acknowledges the exceptional contributions of women in agriculture, agribusiness, academia, and various sectors within the agricultural industry.
The “Women in Ag Awards,” presented for the second time this year, focuses on recognizing special achievements that have significantly impacted the development of local, national, and international agriculture.
Dr. Tapel’s role in selecting winners across four categories — “Farming,” “Agribusiness,” “Education,” and “Technology and Research” — highlights her position as a key influencer in the global agricultural landscape.
At the awarding ceremony held at Agritechnica 2023, the world’s premier trade fair for agricultural machinery in Hanover, Germany, Dr.Juana T. Tapel (leftmost) presented the first, second, and third place awards in the Technology and Research category. The accolades went to Alfiya Kayumova from Latvia (2nd from left), Stefanie Hartje from Germany (rightmost), and Solvejg Kristensen from Denmark (2nd from right), respectively. These outstanding women were recognized for their groundbreaking research projects contributing to the advancement of agricultural technology and science.
With 130 nominees from 38 nations vying for the prestigious award, Dr. Tapel expressed her immense pride in representing the Philippines on the international stage. She sees the Women in Ag Awards not just as a recognition of individual excellence but also as a powerful platform to inspire and empower women across the globe.
Dr. Tapel, who is also Chairperson of International Network of Women Engineers and Scientists – Asia Pacific Nation Network (INWES-APNN), emphasized the importance of the award in challenging gender norms within the agricultural sector, traditionally dominated by men. She voiced her optimism for the Philippines to have nominees in the next edition of the Women in Ag Awards in 2025, encouraging Filipino women involved in farming, agribusiness, education, and technology and research to apply or be nominated.
Beyond individual recognition, Dr. Tapel sees the award as a catalyst for fostering a global community of empowered women dedicated to addressing challenges such as climate change, food security, and sustainability. Her dedication to promoting the relevance of agriculture in the face of these challenges reflects a commitment to shaping a more inclusive and sustainable future.
Among the accomplished individuals who comprised the jury alongside Dr. Tapel were professionals from various corners of the globe, including Yulia Bondarenko (CEO, DLG Ukraine), Mathilde Brion (agri-journalist, France), Freya von Czettritz (CEO, DLG Holding, and founder of DLG-Female Agri Fellows network, Germany), Melinda Hashimoto (CEO, Egg Farmers of Australia), Hella Otten (Real Estate Finance, Nord LB and Founder of Women in Agribusiness network, Germany), Kim Schoukens (Founder and editor Women in Ag- Magazine, Belgium), and Sheila Zulu (Agronomist and Trainer at the Martin Richenhagen Future Farm, Zambia).
As Dr. Juana T. Tapel continues to inspire and pave the way for women in agriculture, her role as a jury member echoes the Philippines’ commitment to contributing significantly to the global narrative of women’s empowerment in the agricultural industry. The Women in Ag Awards not only celebrate accomplishments but serve as a catalyst for a more inclusive and sustainable future in agriculture. ###Marshall Louie Asis, MC/ DA-BAFE