Rice Agriculture Farmers RCEF
An official of the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice) in Batac City, Ilocos Norte lauded partner-agencies in implementing a government’s flagship program benefitting over 55,000 farmers in Region I.
Executed amidst a health crisis, the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF)-Seed Program delivered more than 200,000 bags of free certified seeds of the region’s recommended rice varieties.
“Despite limitations and danger posed by the pandemic, we’re happy that we have provided farmers the needed seeds in time for the planting season. This is due to the cooperation, strong commitment, and partnership among concerned agencies and local government units. We’re also grateful to the support of our congressmen,” Dr. Reynaldo Castro, PhilRice Batac director said.
In Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, City Agriculturist Marilyn G. Martin shared that more than 1,000 bags were distributed to almost 1,000 farmers in two hours during Enhanced Community Quarantine without breaking health and safety protocols.
“We minimized contact and held the distribution in a wide venue so that physical distancing is observed,” she said.
The RCEF Seed Program, a six-year government initiative to help the farmers compete in the international rice market, also helped some cooperatives expand their memberships.
“Many women-farmers applied for membership in our cooperative after receiving the free high-quality seeds. They learned it’s easier for farmers to access government support if we’re organized,” Anita Benito, president of Nasalukag Women’s Multi-purpose Cooperative in Solsona, Ilocos Norte said. She added that their members expect higher yield from RCEF seeds based on the crop’s stand.
Lauding the effort, Sen. Cynthia Villar, author of the Rice Tariffication Law, in which the RCEF-Seed Program is a component, also cited the program implementers in a social media post. Pres. Rodrigo Duterte signed the Rice Tariffication Law, which allots P10 billion fund every year for the rice farmers.
“Congratulations to PhilRice Batac, DA-Regional Field Office 1, provincial/municipal/city agriculture offices, and LGUs in implementing the RCEF- Seed Program in the Ilocos Region! Let’s continue to support our farmers,” she posted.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.