Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) beneficiaries in Caraga have increased their rice harvest by half-ton per hectare from 2019 to 2021 dry season (DS).
Frenciso L. Varquez, RCEF-Branch Project Development Officer, reported that RCEF beneficiaries achieved a regional yield increase from 3.74t/ha to 4.21t/ha in the DS. Meanwhile, almost a quarter increase was recorded from 3.64t/ha to 3.87t/ha in the wet season.
The harvest were gained from the 5,862 bags of certified seeds (20kg each) distributed in 2021 thru the Binhi e-Padala, a digitally-aided seed distribution mechanism established for faster and easier seed distribution under Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice).
“By using certified inbred rice seeds along with rice farm machines, my usual yield of 3.1t/ha has increased to 7-8t/ha,” Jerry P. Enterina, farmer from Lala, Lanao del Norte, said.
Roger Agorto, farmer from Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur also attested that with the help of modern technologies he learned thru the RCEF Program, his usual yield doubled.
Moreover, three sessions of Rice Specialists’ Training Course, two Training of Trainers, and 18 Farmer Field School were conducted thru RCEF-Rice Extension Services Program to improve farmers’ competency in rice production. About 177,000 IEC materials were also distributed to them in 2021.
“We are hoping for a rice-secure Philippines. As we’ve seen through the first three years of the implementation of RCEF, this goal is possible as we are working together,” Dr. Caesar Joventino M. Tado, DA-PhilRice Agusan branch director, said.
The RCEF-Seed Program is a component of Republic Act 11203 or Rice Tariffication Law, which allots P10 billion funds every year for the rice farmers from the rice tariff earnings of the country. The program is a six-year government initiative to help farmers compete in the international rice market. The local government units and lawmakers assist in its implementation.
DA-PhilRice leads the RCEF-Seed Program and is the government’s lead agency on rice research and development mandated to help ensure a rice-secure Philippines. (Kristianne Marie David, PhilRice)