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The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) cautioned farmers to be more careful in buying seeds after the agency had found a rampant unauthorized use of its sacks in Nueva Ecija and Isabela.

When transacting with seed dealers, PhilRice advised farmers to contact the Farmers` Text Center at 0920-9111398 to verify prices, rice varieties being sold, and quality of the seeds.

Investigations by a Fact Finding Committee showed that hybrid rice seeds claimed to be from PhilRice were mixed with other varieties and sold at PhP6,000 per 20 kg. PhilRice-produced hybrid rice seeds cost only PhP195 a kilo.

“We sell registered seeds to growers and they in turn produce certified seeds, which are widely sold to farmers. It could be that sacks with PhilRice ‘brand’ and certification tags are bogus. Rest assured that we are after entities who claim that they are selling PhilRice-produced seeds, although these are not really PhilRice-produced and may not even be PhilRice varieties,” Dr. Eufemio T. Rasco Jr, PhilRice executive director, said.

Recently, the country`s lead agency in rice research and development found that Javan Agri Trading Company used PhilRice sacks in distributing Mestiso 24, a hybrid rice variety to a cooperative in Cabiao, Nueva Ecija. Analysis of the sample seeds showed that seeds were actually PSB Rc240, an inbred variety.

The cooperative members said that they were encouraged to buy the seeds despite of the high price because they were delivered “right in their doorsteps”; reducing their travelling cost.

“We have asked the authorities to investigate on this. For the meantime, our farmers can contact our Text Center or check PhilRice-produced available seeds in http://www.philrice.gov.ph/index.php?page=products&page2=seeds,” Rasco said.

To ensure purity and cleanliness, Rasco said that PhilRice-produced seeds undergo a month-analysis conducted by National Seed Quality Control Services, a division under the Bureau of Plant Industry that oversees seed and planting material production, processing, storage, and distribution.

“We assure our farmers that our seeds have a minimum germination rate of 85 percent.  High quality seeds can contribute to a 5-10 percent increase in grain yield, so this is why, we maintain our standards on seeds,” Rasco said.

Other than agriculture establishments and seed centers, farmers can also buy seeds at PhilRice stations in Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija; Batac, Ilocos Norte; San Mateo, Isabela; Los Baños, Laguna; Murcia, Negros Occidental; RTRomualdez, Agusan del Norte; Midsayap, North Cotabato; and Ligao City, Albay.

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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