Farmers under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) Seed Program were impressed with the crop stand of rice varieties and efficiency of a rice machine showcased in Brgy. Balza, Malinao, Albay.
“Varieties shown in the techno demo have more tillers and grains, which hint high harvest,” a farmer included in the 50 field visitors said.
Called Palay Sikatan, the 6-ha techno demo field showcased NSIC Rc 222, Rc 216, Rc 160, Rc 402, Rc 480, and Rc 358 and mechanical transplanter.
“Our association already owns a mechanical transplanter but we’re not that skilled in operating the machine properly, so we went back to our own way of planting. But through this techno demo, we learned proper operation, and earning additional income from its rent,” Renato Cena, Balza Farmers Association president, said.
He also said that the mechanical transplanter reduced transplanting cost by almost 50%. He reported that they used to spend P7,000 for manual transplanting, but with the mechanical transplanter, they only spent P3,000 for the rent including hauling.
In a development, the RCEF-Seed Program recently established two 6-ha PalaySikatan farms in Rodeo Capital, Masbate. Recommended varieties, drum seeder, PalayCheck system, and Rice Crop Manager for proper fertilizer application are showcased in the area.
“We are very thankful that this program was extended to us in the remote island. We are hoping that at the end of this cropping season, we’ll learn more rice farming practices which can improve our low yield and increase our income,” Cena said.
The RCEF-Seed Program – a component of the Rice Tariffication Law, allocates P3 billion fund every year for the seed requirements of rice farmers and to help farmers produce rice that can compete in the international market. The local government units and lawmakers assist in its implementation.