The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) has distributed, as of Jan. 31, 1.24 million bags of certified seeds as assistance to farmers under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) planting an estimated area of 609,000 ha for this dry season.
Data also show that more than 480,000 farmers in major rice-producing areas nationwide have already benefited from the RCEF seeds program, the RCEF- Program Management Office (PMO) reported during its recent Review and Assessment Workshop.
“PhilRice commits to continue reaching out to more farmers to provide them certified seeds as an intervention to help increase yield and reduce cost amid the implementation of Rice Tariffication Law (RTL),” Dr. Flordeliza Bordey, deputy executive director for special concerns, said.
Bordey said seed distribution also supports the Department of Agriculture’s endeavor toward “Masaganang Ani at Mataas na Kita.”
Despite the challenges with recent roll-out of RCEF, the distribution of the remaining seeds continues as RCEF-PMO lays down plans for 2020 wet season and 2021 dry season.
“For the 2020 wet season, we have allotted 2.514 million bags of seeds and 1.676 million bags for 2021 dry season distribution,” Bordey said during the gathering of the national, regional, and provincial coordinators.
Meanwhile, to augment the RCEF Extension Service Program amid the limited budget and personnel, RCEF eyes to develop farmer-trainers.
“Farmer-trainers, will be a critical group of farmers who will disseminate information,” Dr. Karen Eloisa T. Barroga, deputy executive director for development, said with emphasis on strengthening farmer groups.
Additionally, youth engagement will be prioritized this year.
“There are many opportunities available for the youth, specifically for those who have interest in AgriBusiness through Tech-Voc,” Barroga said.
The PhilRice RCEF-PMO assures farmers for an improved delivery of services to continue providing them the assistance they need amid the drop of rice prices after the RTL.