CAMALIG, Albay—More than 800 rice farmers from Daraga, Albay received 1000 bags of certified rice seeds from Philippine Rice Research Institutute (PhilRice) during the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF)-Seed Component Technical Briefing and 1st Seed Distribution held on November 27, 2019 at the Albay Farmers Bounty Village here.

The farmers will receive a maximum of two bags and a minimum of ½ bag of either RC 222 and RC 216 under the Seed Component of the Php10 billion budget under RCEF.

PhilRice urged farmer-recipients register to the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) in their respective municipality and that they needed to attend a technical briefing.

Department of Agriculture-5 Regional Executive Director Rodel P. Tornilla disclosed that out of the Php10B fund generated annually by Rice Tarrification, Php5B will go to the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Modernization (PhilMech) to provide farmers with rice farm machineries and equipment; Php3B will be released to the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) to be used for the development, propagation and promotion of inbred rice seeds to rice farmers and the organization of rice farmers into seed growers’ associations engaged in seed production and trade; Php1B will be made available in the form of credit facility with minimal interest rates and with minimum collateral requirements to rice farmers and cooperatives to be managed by the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines; and Php1B will fund extension services by PhilMech, Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) for teaching skills on rice crop production, modern rice farming techniques, seed production, farm mechanization, and knowledge/ technology transfer through farm schools nationwide.

Tornilla said that these programs is beneficial for farmers and will realize the objective of having a “Masaganang Ani, Mataas na Kita.”

The PHP10-billion RCEF would enable Filipino farmers to export their rice at globally competitive price levels and will be implemented annually over the next six years.

PhilRice Bicol OIC Dr. Vicky C. Lapitan said that farmers will receive seeds for two consecutive cropping seasons until December 2020. Farmers can still avail of seeds once the target yield in their area is achieved.

She reminded the recipients through these certified seeds, farmers can have a 10% increase in production if properly taken-cared of.

Pagkatanim, alagaan dahil libre ang binhi for two seasons. I-momonitor kayo at i-evaluate. Kaya, huwag ipabibigas. Kung makakakuha kayo ng 5 tons pagkatapos ng dalawang seasons, libre uli ang binhi. Pero kung mababa sa 5 tons ang inyong ani, hindi na ito libre,“ she added. Governor Al Francis Bichara, Tornilla, Albay Provincial Agriculturist Cheryl Rebeta, Daraga Mayor Victor Perete and Land Bank of the Philippines led the distribution of seeds. (jaysonmgonzales)