Addressing the need for high-quality seeds in remote areas, the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund-Rice Extension Services Program (RCEF-RESP) has started training farmers in Region 2 and CAR since January.
The training, which covers inbred rice seed multiplication and purification, is being conducted to rice growers in Manabo and La Paz in Abra and in the coastal area of Dinapigue, Isabela.
“One of our problems in farming is the high cost of commercial rice seeds. As many of us cannot afford this, we use the seeds from our last harvest,” said Bambita Bolesa, one of the farmer-cooperators and training participants.
Following the IATF protocol, an initial of 15 participants from each municipality are taught on producing high-quality inbred rice seeds. Andres dela Cruz, RCEF Coordinator of DA-PhilRice Isabela said the participants are also honed to be seed producers supplying the requirements in their area and nearby provinces.
Municipalities were selected based on distance, availability of seeds, and mode of transportation of seeds.
The RCEF-RESP is a component of Republic Act 11203 or Rice Tariffication Law signed by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, which allots P10 billion fund every year for the rice farmers. Sponsored by Sen. Cynthia Villar, the program is a six-year government initiative to help the farmers compete in the international rice market. The local government units and lawmakers assist in its implementation.
The program is implemented by DA-PhilRice, DA-Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization, DA-Agricultural Training Institute, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.