The Department of Agriculture accelerates the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) by releasing the P10 billion allotment to implementing agencies.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar said 32 percent or P3.2 billion is being used for RCEF program activities such as procurement of high-quality inbred seeds, bidding of farm machines, granting of loans, and training of rice specialists.
“[RCEF activities] are timely as [it’s generally the start of rice cropping season]. Now, the program is rolling out and [recently launched] in Roxas, Isabela. [We’re starting to make] the farmers productive, competitive, and progressive through the program,” Dar said in a press conference, Tuesday, at the Agricultural Training Institute in Quezon City.
Under seed component, Dr. Flordeliza Bordey, deputy executive director for special concerns of Philippine Rice Research Institute, said about 2 million bags of seeds are procured as of Oct. 18 while more than 2,000 bags of certified seeds are now ready for distribution. The RCEF seed monitoring system is also in place.
“Seed distribution will peak in November. Planning for wet season distribution in 2020 and positioning of registered seeds for the dry season in 2020 are being worked out,” she said.
Technical briefings, a requirement for farmers to receive seeds, were recently conducted to tillers in regions 1, 2, 3, 4-B, 5, and 12. The first batch of rice specialists under the program also completed their training last week.
The seed component targets 1.06 million hectare covering cities and municipalities with more than 100 ha areas planted to rice. Farmers listed in the Department of Agriculture’s Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture will be given 20-80 k of high-quality inbred rice seeds depending on farm size.