In time for the planting season, farmers under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) program had started receiving certified inbred seeds during its first distribution in Balungao, Pangasinan, Oct. 28.

More than 2,500 bags of certified inbred seeds are given to 600 farmers until Friday in the 4th class municipality bordering Nueva Ecija to the south. On its first day, about 450 rice farmers planting around 558 ha received 1,000 bags.

“You’re lucky to be the program’s first beneficiaries. The government gives this support for you to be more competitive so I urge you to do your part for you to gain more from farming amidst challenges,” Maria Theresa Peralta, town mayor said.

Peralta encouraged farmers to plant the certified seeds as this can increase yield by 10 percent.

“Please do not sell what you have received. The grain from this bag might lead you to prosperity,” she said.

Under the program, farmers who are listed in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) of the Department of Agriculture can receive 20-80kg of high-quality rice seeds for two consecutive seasons. After two seasons, farmers are still entitled to the program benefits if their municipality achieves the target yield.

The local government unit of Balungao validated the RSBSA and facilitated seed distribution. It also identified the drop-off point, seed storage facility, and seed inspector. It further announced the details of seed distribution to the rice farmers within its scope.

Dominica Lobusta, one of the beneficiaries, said the distributed seeds would help them cope with the low rice price.

Palay price is quite low this season at P11-P14 a kilo. But we hope to rise from this challenge through this provision. Seeds are certified so we can also expect high yield,” she said.

Farmers can also avail of machines, credit, and training from RCEF program.

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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