Private-public partnership is expected to accelerate delivery of government service through a digital voucher system called Binhi e-Padala powered by PayMaya, which will be used to ease seed delivery and distribution for rice farmers.

Department of Agriculture – Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice) together with PayMaya Philippines Inc., Nueva Ecija Seed Growers Multipurpose Cooperative, and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) launched the Binhi-e Padala in an online event, Sept. 24.

Considered as one of the pioneer projects in the agriculture sector that integrates financial technology in its operations, Binhi e-Padala is a combination of offline and online services in sending claim codes to farmer-beneficiaries through SMS-based notification, and in electronically recording seed claims and releases.

Initial implementation of the system is set to start this October, in time for the preparations needed for this coming dry season implementation of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) – Seed Program.

The system will be pilot-tested in select cities and municipalities in Nueva Ecija including Aliaga, Bongabon, Cabanatuan City, Cuyapo, General Natividad, Guimba, Licab, Llanera, Lupao, Nampicuan, Quezon, Rizal, San Jose City, Science City of Muñoz, Sto., Domingo, Talavera, and Talugtug in Nueva Ecija.

This will also be implemented in Gerona, Paniqui, Pura, Ramos, Tarlac City, and Victoria in Tarlac. Binhi e-Padala is expected to benefit around 5,000 farmers in the said pilot areas.

“With this innovation, we hope to promote a more efficient and timely conduct of seed distribution activities, in which farmers’ transaction time is reduced, and payment for our partner-seed growers is hastened,” said Dr. Flordeliza H. Bordey, RCEF-Seed program management head and DA-PhilRice deputy executive director.

Using digital vouchers from PayMaya straight to the beneficiary’s mobile phone, farmers can claim the certified inbred rice seeds through the nearest outlet of NESGMPC. The cooperative’s outlets will also serve as official Smart Padala partner network centers for the pilot test.

Bordey also said that utilizing digital vouchers can help with project monitoring and reporting, enabling faster automatic payment settlements of the partner-cooperative through the DBP as the authorized government depository bank for this project.

In his message of support, DA Secretary William Dar said that results of the initial implementation can be used to craft a seed delivery and distribution protocol that maximizes the use of digital technology.

“Digital technology can enhance our rice farmers access to government program, at the same time, enable efficient use of government resources. We look forward to a successful implementation of the Binhi e-Padala initiative so we can upscale its implementation for the benefit of our rice farmers across the country,” he said.

“We congratulate our partners at DA-PhilRice for being innovators in digitizing its seed distribution for the benefit of its partner-cooperatives and farmer-beneficiaries. Our digital solutions will help DA-PhilRice and the DBP ensure that no farmer is left behind,” PayMaya Founder and CEO Orlando B. Vea said.

Emmanuel G. Herbosa, President and CEO of DBP said the app is crucial in extending government service amidst crisis.

“It’s an initiative that is timely as we are facing a global health crisis that has affected many sectors including agriculture. I believe that the Binhi e-Padala Project will help our government address those challenges. Moreover, we need to ensure the nation’s food security in a post-lockdown future,” he said.

Signing of the initiative’s Memorandum of Agreement was attended by the district representatives, governors, and provincial and municipal agriculture office representatives of the target sites.

The RCEF-Seed Program is a component of Republic Act 11203 or Rice Tariffication Law, signed by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, which allots 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.

PhilRice leads the RCEF-Seed Program and is the government’s lead agency on rice research and development mandated to help ensure a rice-secure Philippines. With eight stations across the country, its programs and projects are in line with the DA’s “Masaganang Ani, Mataas na Kita” battlecry. For more information about the Institute’s program, queries can be sent thru PhilRice Text Center (0917 111 7423) or email prri.mail@philrice.gov.ph.

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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