The local government units (LGUs) in the Bicol Region under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) Program are all set in providing farmers with certified rice seeds and knowledge critical on rice production.

Romela Montesinay, municipal agriculturist of Malilipot, Albay, said their LGU is boosting its training and extension programs for the farmers, which include the technical briefing conducted during RCEF seed distribution.

Recently, the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice) in Albay distributed print, video, and audio materials containing science-based and field-tested recommendations on seeding rate, land preparation, and pest and nutrient management. PalayCheck, an integrated crop management system for rice, is also included in the materials.

“We lack video materials for our virtual training courses and some of our resources are already outdated. We’re glad that these were provided to us. We will show and broadcast these videos and audio materials. We will also distribute the YunPalaYun brochure during seed distribution,” Montesinay said. YunPalaYun brochure contains practices that help reduce production cost and increase yield.

In Donsol, Sorsogon, municipal agriculturist Lindez Espada, said that DA-PhilRice’s knowledge resources give them confidence in conducting online learning sessions.

“Our farmers are now practicing the Palaycheck System but we still need to give them refresher courses to guide them,” he said.

This wet season, about 50,000 farmers in Albay, Masbate, and Sorsogon are benefitting from the RCEF-Seed and Rice Extension Services (RES) Programs.

RCEF-Seed and RES Programs, which provide free seeds and training      courses to farmers, are components of Republic Act 11203 or Rice Tariffication Law signed by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, which allocates a P10 billion fund every year for the rice farmers.  Sponsored by Sen. Cynthia Villar, the program is a six-year government initiative to help the farmers compete in the international rice market. The local government units and lawmakers assist in its implementation. Farmers under this program can also avail of training, machines, and credit with low interest.

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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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Philippine Rice Research Institute