Farmers under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) Program in Laguna are experiencing significant improvements in their rice production skills and yields, thanks to the program’s Farmer Field School (FFS). 

RCEF-FFS provides training on aspects of rice farming, including computing rice production expenses, applying the correct fertilizers, managing water efficiently, using machinery, and developing social skills.

Venancio Z. Porcincula, a 69-year-old farmer from Pila, Laguna, reported a substantial increase in his yield after attending the RCEF-FFS in 2021 at Roqueza Integrated Farm.

Before the training, he applied fertilizer twice per cropping season, relying on complete and urea fertilizers. With the new knowledge of adding potassium nitrate, he boosted his yield from 6.5t/ha to 8t/ha.

Similarly, Mauro Z. Porcincula, 63, also from Pila, improved his irrigation practices through RCEF-FFS. 

“I learned to maintain 3-5cm of water 13 days after transplanting and to dry the land one week before harvest during the dry season, reducing water wastage,” he said.  

Alma M. Robrigado, 50, highlighted the advantages of using machinery in rice fields. She noted that the combine harvester significantly reduced the harvesting time from one week to three hours for a one-hectare field.

As the president of a barangay farmers’ association, Alma emphasized the cost-saving benefits, stating that with the RCEF-provided harvester, she only pays 8 cavans of rice per hectare instead of 10 cavans for privately-owned harvesters.

In addition to technical training, the program also helped farmers develop social skills. 

“Through interactions with other farmers and rice farming partners during the training sessions, I have greatly improved my socialization skills,” Alma said.

The farmers expressed their gratitude to Roqueza Integrated Farm, DA-PhilRice, TESDA, and other partner agencies for facilitating the training. They acknowledged the significant impact of RCEF-FFS in enhancing their farming knowledge, profitability, and social skills.

The RCEF-FFS is part of the RCEF Rice Extension Services Program, a component of Republic Act 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL), authored by Senator Cynthia A. Villar. The RTL allocates P1 billion annually to enhance the capacities of rice farmers to become more competitive in rice production.

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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