Farmers in Tarlac will again receive certified inbred rice seeds as the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) Seed Program resumes its operations for the 2023 wet season with a kick-off ceremony and technical briefing held at the Diwa ng Tarlac Convention Center, April 14.
Under the RCEF Seed Program implemented by the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), the province will receive nearly 80,000 bags of certified inbred seeds, covering an expansive area of 36,270 hectares.
Organized in collaboration with the local government unit of Tarlac, the event highlighted the distribution of seeds to 300 farmers who were the first to receive 20-kilogram bags of inbred seeds. They also received reading materials, which will guide them on better rice production, from the RCEF Rice Extension Services Program.
“I’m delighted that the RCEF Seed Program is back in our province, providing us farmers with high-quality certified inbred rice seeds free of charge. This is a significant assistance as we continue to cultivate rice to feed our fellow Filipinos,” Eulogio Cabiles, farmer technician from San Manuel, Tarlac, said.
In March 2021, the Tarlac province became part of the National Rice Program under the Department of Agriculture. However, at the start of the 2023 wet season, the RCEF Seed Program has returned to 15 provinces, including Tarlac, expanding its program coverage to 77 provinces.
Apart from the seed distribution, farmers were also briefed on new rice farming information to improve their practices.
Filipina Bueno, 64-year-old farmer from Pura, Tarlac, shared her new knowledge after the event.
“Technical briefings are really helpful for us farmers. I just learned the proper timing for applying fertilizer. Now I know that it’s more effective to apply fertilizers in the afternoon rather than in the morning to prevent it from evaporating too quickly,” Filipina shared.
She was also grateful for the reading materials she received, highlighting the importance of access to information.
“These materials provided continuity of knowledge that I learned from the briefing and helped me recall new farming techniques and practices,” she added.