Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice) branch station in Ligao City, Albay has released 450 bags of free high-quality inbred seeds in Sto. Domingo as the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) – Seed Program kicks off its distribution activities this wet season in the Bicol Region.
More than 700 rice farmers have received certified inbred seeds of recommended rice varieties such as NSIC Rc 222, Rc 216, and Rc 402, which will be planted in about 150ha covered by the said town.
Julian Macadamia, RCEF-Seed Program focal person based in the PhilRice station, said Sto. Domingo received the first seed deliveries as farmers here are early rice planters. He further said that about 53,000 farmers in the region will benefit from the program this season.
Meanwhile, Municipal Agriculturist Gino Gregorio shared that farmers were motivated to plant rice through the program.
“Harvests in our area are quite low and irrigation needs improvement. Farmers also have limited access to certified seeds. We are grateful that we are now part of the RCEF Seed Program. Now, high-quality seeds are easily available for our farmers! Thanks to RCEF!” Gregorio said.
Gregorio added that they expect more farmers to register in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture who will also avail other benefits from the program such as free farm machines, trainings, and credit with low interest.
The RCEF-Seed Program – a component of the Rice Tariffication Law, allocates P3 billion fund every year for the seed requirements of rice farmers and to help farmers produce rice that can compete in the international market.
The local government units and lawmakers assist in its implementation. DA-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.