Senator Cynthia A. Villar, chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, has lauded the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice) for its effective implementation of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) Seed and Rice Extension Services Programs during a recent session of the Congressional Oversight Committee on Agricultural and Fisheries Modernization.

“I’ve been the chair of the committee for eleven years, and I can tell you that the best agency I’ve seen so far in the DA is PhilRice. I truly salute PhilRice,” she said.

Since their inception, the PhilRice-led RCEF programs have achieved significant milestones. The RCEF Seed Program has recorded a 21% increase in farmers’ average yield during the dry season reaching 4.36t/ha and a 9% increase during the wet season achieving 4.03t/ha.

Moreover, more than 15 million sacks of RCEF certified inbred seeds have been distributed, benefiting more than 1.2 million farmers across 1,500 municipalities and cities in 57 provinces nationwide.

Additionally, 74 PhilRice-bred rice lines have been endorsed to the National Seed Industry Council (NSIC) Rice Technical Working Group.

The RCEF Rice Extension Services Program, co-implemented with other DA-attached agencies, has also significantly increased competitiveness. Since 2020, 230,000 farmers and 32,000 extension workers have received specialized training to enhance their skills and knowledge.  

Furthermore, PhilRice reported that the program has distributed 8.87 million copies of 376 new titles and reprints of Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) materials and conducted more than 11,000 knowledge sharing and learning activities, reaching 22.3M farmers and support network.

Sen. Villar first commended the Institute during the Programs’ annual review in February, highlighting the program’s successful outcomes and the dedication of those involved. 

“We must continue the good outcomes of RCEF. We have to extend the program to reach our target goal of 6t/ha and continue supporting our local farmers,” she emphasized during the review. 

She also acknowledged the collaborative efforts of various organizations and stakeholders involved in the RCEF program, including the Agricultural Training Institute, Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, local government units, seed growers, and farmers’ cooperatives for their roles in the program’s success.

The RCEF Seed and Rice Extension Services Programs are components of Republic Act 11203 or Rice Tariffication Law, which allots P10-billion fund every year for rice farmers. Sponsored by Sen. Cynthia Villar, RCEF is a six-year government initiative to help farmers improve their competitiveness.

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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