The Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) Seed Program has reached three provinces covered by Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) in Bicol as local authorities gear up for an extensive distribution of certified inbred rice seeds this 2023 wet season.

Under the allocation plan, Northern Samar is slated to receive 11,227 bags of certified seeds while  Eastern Samar will be provided with 11,347 bags. Leyte will benefit from a substantial allocation of 66,120 bags.

While Northern Samar and Eastern Samar are new participants in the program, Leyte is rejoining after being selected as one of the target areas for the National Rice Program’s (NRP)  hybrid initiative in the previous four cropping seasons.

Jose Luiz Acompañado, Northern Samar provincial agriculturist, said that “RCEF has been eagerly awaited,” with officials acknowledging its vital role in enhancing local farmers’ competitiveness. 

“We, at the provincial government, are fully committed to providing unwavering support to the program. We have designated a dedicated focal person to assist PhilRice, and we have allocated office space for the assigned provincial coordinator. We’re ready for RCEF,” Acompañado said.

In Leyte, Provincial Agriculturist Imelda Sievert emphasized the relevance of RCEF’s return to their locality. 

“Many farmers here are actively seeking high-quality inbred rice seeds, particularly during the wet season. With RCEF providing inbred seeds and Department of Agriculture’s NRP offering hybrid seeds, we anticipate that more farmers will seize improved opportunities to increase yield,” Sievert said.

Anthony Romeo Rivera, PhilRice Bicol RCEF coordinator, expressed confidence in the program implementation.

“Our partner LGUs in these provinces have expressed optimism that, with RCEF, they will no longer encounter shortages of high-quality seeds. We anticipate commencing seed distribution in July 2023,” he said.

The RCEF Seed Program is a component of Republic Act 11203 or Rice Tariffication Law, which allocates P3 billion fund every year for seed requirements of rice farmers to help them produce high-quality rice. LGUs, lawmakers and partners assist in its implementation.

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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