The Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) Rice Extension Services Program has actively involved the younger generation in agriculture, including Joseph Mantatao from Buenavista, Agusan del Norte.

“I have enjoyed helping my parents on the farm since I was 16 years old. I’m now managing our 0.6-ha rice field after my mother’s demise. I’m grateful that RCEF is helping me become a better farmer,” the 23-year-old rice grower said.

In the RCEF training, Joseph learned about the use of the Minus-One-Element Technique, which recommends the right element, amount, and timing of nutrient application to increase yield without unnecessary fertilizer costs. 

He also learned about agroecosystem analysis or AESA, a tool used in determining plant’s health by observing and recording environmental information such as the population of weeds and beneficial and harmful insects, weather conditions, and water level.

Like his fellow 30 participants, Joseph committed to applying the learnings in his field.

“As the youngest participant in our batch, I’m often asked why I want to be a farmer. I was called on this vocation. It’s my way of life. It’s one of the most rewarding jobs as I’m not only feeding my family, but the Filipino nation,” he said.

The Rice Extension Services Program is a component of RCEF, which is funded by the Rice Tariffication Law or RA 11203. The RCEF program aims to improve the competitiveness of local rice farmers by reducing their production cost and increasing their yield.

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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