A farmer from San Simon, Pampanga happily smiles for the camera after receiving his share of certified inbred seeds from RCEF-Seed Program.

The Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF)-Seed Program recently delivered 2 million bags of certified inbred seeds in 950 municipalities in the country, hitting 85% of the program’s target.

Dr. Flordeliza Bordey, deputy executive director of the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice), said that as of June 21, PhilRice had turned over 2,125,952 bags of certified inbred seeds (20kg/bag) in 55 provinces.

“From this delivery, the local government units have distributed almost 1.5 million bags to about 480,000 farmers. With the continued strong support of the local government units, we have surpassed our total deliveries during the previous planting season,” Bordey said.

Among regions, the economist said RCEF-Seed Program finished its deliveries in Central Luzon and Zamboanga Peninsula. Meanwhile, seed provision in Cagayan Valley and SOCCSKSARGEN is nearly completed at 93-99%.

In Talavera, Nueva Ecija, 62-year-old farmer Jesse Isidro Cuaresma is leading the organization he formed – Farmers’ Association of Bakal II – with more than a hundred members, in response to the advice that rice growers can benefit more from the program if they group together.

“We were told that if farmers are organized into associations, we will have more opportunities in availing of agricultural intervention from the government; and so we did. These RCEF seeds are good news to us. Although they’re given free, these seeds are really high-yielding and of high quality,” said Cuaresma, whose harvest in April spiked to 180-200cav/ha from his usual 80cav/ha. He planted NSIC Rc 222 in his 2-ha farm.  

Crossing five rivers to reach the distribution drop-off point together with fellow farmers, Resurreccion Mansinaging said she is encouraged to continue farming with the program’s support.

“I received NSIC Rc 216 and planted it on my ¾ hectare. I’m thankful that [the program] reached us despite the remoteness of our place,” Mansinaging, a Manobo rice tiller from Pigcawayan, Cotabato, said.

Meanwhile, Charlou Anito of Tago, Surigao del Sur said that in her more than a decade of farming, she received for the first time, agricultural aid thru the RCEF Program.

“Thanks to the RCEF program for giving us free and high-quality seeds. For 15 years of rice farming, I never imagined to receive this kind of help. I got NSIC Rc 222 last planting season and I was amazed because my yield was so good; it reached 144cav/ha! Farming is now more convenient,” she said.

With the farmers’ good feedback, program implementers expect that the seeds already distributed will be planted in more than 500,000ha.

The RCEF-Seed Program, which is a component of Republic Act 11203 or Rice Tariffication Law signed by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, 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.

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 prri.mail@philrice.gov.ph.

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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