Extensionists and farmers in a village in Hungduan, Ifugao expressed their gratitude to the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) Seed Program for helping their community attain enough rice supply.

According to municipal agriculturist Jonathan Wakoy, planting inbred rice with seeds provided by the RCEF Seed Program, helped the farm households of Brgy. Maggok sustain rice supply until the next harvest.

“Farmers here used to only plant traditional or heirloom rice varieties that are generally low yielding at 3.5t/ha. The new rice varieties introduced by the program can yield 4.4-14t/ha so it helped farmers become rice secure,” he said.

He said that farmers pay P200-P250 for a ride going to the town market to buy rice. As the fare can already buy 5kg of rice, farmers sometimes take 2-3-hour walk to reach the market.

“Because of RCEF, we no longer need to go to the market to buy rice. Our harvest is more than enough to support us ‘till the next cropping season. What we are more grateful for, RCEF staff delivers the seed,” Francisco Tuguinay, RCEF farmer shared.

“Their usual harvest from heirloom rice lasts about nine months. The 2-3- month shortage is now addressed with the adoption of  high yielding varieties,” agricultural technologist Roldan Dulawan said.

Dulawan shared that with the RCEF providing the community with free recommended inbred rice seeds such as NSIC Rc 480, 402, and 218,  farmers had harvested 5t/ha as additional to their produce from heirloom rice.

RCEF Seed Program is a component of Republic Act 11203 or Rice Tariffication Law, which allocates P3 billion fund every year for seed requirements of rice farmers to help them produce high-quality rice to compete in the international rice market. LGUs, lawmakers and partners assist in its implementation.

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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