CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – The Department of Agriculture (DA) through its Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) has started the distribution of certified inbred seeds to farmers in this province and Bulacan.
Dr. Flordeliza Bordey, director of the RCEF Program Management Office at DA-Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) RCEF Program Management Office, said on Tuesday that some 174,000 sacks of certified inbred rice seeds weighing 20 kilos each have been allotted for the two provinces in this year’s wet season.
Of the total figures, Bordey said that some 100,000 sacks of inbred rice seeds are intended for farmers in Pampanga while 74,000 are for farmers in Bulacan.
Among the seed varieties for distribution are the NSIC Rc 160, Rc 218SR and Rc 222.
“As we approach the peak of the planting season in these two provinces, we are excited to see farmers start sowing these high-quality seeds and reap the benefits of the RCEF program,” Bordey said in a radio program.
Jenaliza Bohol, a farmer from Barangay Jalung, Porac, this province said the RCEF program is a big help for them.
“Napakaganda po ng programa kasi ang laking tipid talaga at siguradong dekalidad pa ang binhing maitatanim namin (The program is very good because we saved a lot in the production cost and the seeds for planting are of high quality),” Bohol said.
Based on actual field studies and demonstrations conducted by DA-PhilRice, certified inbred rice seeds produce higher yields compared to ordinary seeds and can withstand different rice diseases.
Raymundo Anastacio, a farmer from Barangay Bunsuran III, Pandi town in Bulacan, said farming used to be an unprofitable livelihood prior to the RCEF Seed Program because farm inputs including seeds are expensive.
But with the provision of free certified inbred seeds, he said farmers can now save a lot, which motivates them to plant anew.
Jointly funded by the RCEF Seed Program and the DA’s National Rice Program (NRP) with PHP3 billion and PHP700,000, respectively, the certified inbred rice seed distribution is intended to complement and supplement the hybrid rice production strategy of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. under his food security agenda.
The RCEF Seed Program is a component of Republic Act 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law, which allocates PHP3 billion in funds every year to develop, propagate and promote high-quality inbred rice seeds to help improve the competitiveness of Filipino rice farmers.
(Zorayda Tecson, PNA)