With the roll out of the seed distribution for Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), analysts emphasize that seeds undergo tedious quality control process prior its distribution.

Ensuring high-quality of seeds is part of the government’s support to Filipino rice farmers affected by the surge of rice imports in the market.

Josephine Reyes, Chief of the National Seed Quality Control Services (NSQCS), said seeds go through series of processes for certification and quality control before distribution.

Beginning from document verification, trainings, field and seed scrutiny, until tag issuance, analysts conduct thorough inspection.

“Seed growers, as part of their requirements for accreditation, should attend five-day training on inbred rice seeds production conducted by agricultural agencies. They also have to submit documents like land title,” Reyes said.

After seed growers are accredited, they will apply for the certification.

Deputized seed inspectors from the local agriculture offices conduct unannounced preliminary field inspection 15 days after transplant.

The final seed inspection is meanwhile done 15-20 days before harvest. Then, inspector conducts seed sampling in different warehouses. Samples are submitted to the laboratory for seed analysis.

Five certified inbred varieties are provided under RCEF program – three nationally recommended varieties NSIC Rc 222, NSIC Rc 216, and NSIC Rc 160; and two other location-specific varieties.

To pass the quality control, seed samples should have 98% minimum pure seed, 0.04% maximum weed and other crop seed, 2% maximum inert matter, 500g maximum other varieties and grains, 85% minimum germination, and 14% maximum moisture content.

After the seeds pass the laboratory analysis, NSQCS issues tags indicating details of the quality control analysis.

The Department of Agriculture through Sec. William Dar previously entered a partnership with the top Seed Growers’ Associations and Cooperatives in the country to ensure that inbred seeds distributed under the RCEF program are only of good quality.

Seed growers in Pampanga, meanwhile, expressed their fulfillment in becoming part of the country’s program to help the small-scale rice farmers.

“The RCEF program also helps the seed industry. We are thankful for the opportunity to help our small rice farmers here in our region and even nationwide,” said Arnel Salenga, 50, of the Pampanga Seed Growers Multipurpose Cooperative.

Salenga also said that the guidelines provided by the implementers ensured ease in seed production.

“We produce the recommended top five varieties as provided in the guidelines …. We also follow the planting calendar to determine when are the seeds needed so we can provide it right away,” Salenga said.

“We didn’t have a hard time adjusting because we were also provided with the guidelines and we have a sure market now,” he added.

The distribution of the RCEF seeds is still on-going to select rice-producing localities nationwide with already 466,817 bags distributed as of Dec. 8.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is a government corporate entity attached to the Department of Agriculture created through Executive Order 1061 on 5 November 1985 (as amended) to help develop high-yielding and cost-reducing technologies so farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos.

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