Implementation of the seed component under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) is all set following the release of its guidelines submitted 59 days before the deadline.
The Fund covers rice farm mechanization; inbred rice seed development, propagation, and promotion; expanded rice credit assistance; and rice extension services.
Dr. Flordeliza H. Bordey, PhilRice Deputy Executive Director and RCEF Program Director, said the program will promote high-quality inbred rice seeds to farmers.
“Provinces with high potential for competitiveness will be considered. These areas are selected based on the evaluation of their size of area harvested, yield level, cost of production, and share of irrigated area. Selected areas must also have an annual area planted of more than 500 ha for dry season 2019-2020,” Bordey said.
Farmers will receive seeds for two consecutive cropping seasons until Dec. 2020. Implementers said that farmers can still avail of seeds once the target yield in their area is achieved.
The program director, however, emphasized that only farmers who are enlisted in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) will be provided with free seeds. Eligible farmers are entitled to a maximum of 80kg of inbred seeds depending on farm size for October to December planting.
“We are targeting to distribute more than 2 million bags at 20kg/bag certified seeds this year. It roughly translates to planting around 1 million hectares of rice land. We expect to distribute more next season,” Bordey added.
Farmer-beneficiaries will be given rice production manual and seed propagation booklet to help them achieve the yield potential of certified seeds. Varieties for distribution include NSIC Rc 160, Rc 216, Rc 222, and two location-specific inbred varieties.
“We are requesting the help of the local government units (LGUs) to validate and enlist farmers in the RSBSA. LGUs will also identify the distribution areas and schedule,” she said.
Bordey added that the LGUs will be tapped to identify drop-off points and schedule for seed delivery and potential temporary seed storage facilities; assist in seed delivery inspection; announce details of seed distribution; and facilitate seed distribution.
As preparation for program implementation, Bordey said they have reached officials and agriculture workers in 53 provinces involving 672 municipalities. Technical briefings on seed preparation and PhilRice technologies will also be conducted before seeds are given to farmers.
With the interventions, Bordey said the seed component is hoped to contribute in increasing yield up to 6t/ha in high-yielding provinces and 5t/ha in medium-yielding provinces by 2024. The RCEF component programs also aim to help lower production cost by 30%, reduce postharvest losses to 12%, and trim down marketing cost by P1/kg.
To be implemented from 2020 until 2025 Dry Season, the RCEF will be reviewed by the Congressional Oversight Committee on Agricultural and Fisheries Modernization after six years.
For more information, contact the Agricultural Training Institute’s Farmers Contact Center: 0920-946-2474.