Seed growers from Masbate and Leyte are thankful for their recent organizational management and leadership training, as this will help revive and strengthen their associations.

Nonoy Dela Cruz, chairperson of Masbate Seed Growers’ Association (MSGA), said that the training, which was conducted by the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice) under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF)-Seed Program, will help their association in rebuilding the once booming seed industry in Masbate.

We’re already producing inbred rice seeds more than our province needed in 2000, and we were delivering these to mainland Bicol. However, due to some management concerns, the association stopped its operations. In this training, we learned the value of every member and the values that each must possess for our association to prosper once again,” he shared.

Northern Leyte Seed Producers’ Association Chairperson Mario Tampil also said that the entrepreneurial skills they learned through the training would help them assist farmers in their region in achieving masaganang ani at mataas na kita.

Our association is relatively new, having been established last year, so we are thankful that we were invited even if we are not yet accredited by RCEF. We look forward to being a partner of the RCEF Seed Program,” he said.

The three-day training, which includes a series of lectures and group activities, was attended by 38 farmers and seed growers from five cooperatives.

It aimed to enhance seed growers’ managerial and organizational skills to produce and supply quality seeds continuously. Topics discussed were financial and entrepreneurial skills and enterprise development. Working in groups, mind-setting, and values formation were also included.

Resource persons were from the Bureau of Plant Industry-National Seed Quality Control Services (BPI-NSQCS), DA-Regional Field Office (RFO) 5, Land Bank, Cooperative Development Authority, Department of Trade and Industry, and DA-PhilRice Bicol. It was facilitated by DA-PhilRice with assistance from the Office of the Provincial Agriculture (OPAg), BPI-NSQCS, and DA-RFO 5.

The RCEF-Seed Program is a component of Republic Act 11203 or Rice Tariffication Law signed by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, which allots P10 billion funds every year for the rice farmers. Sponsored by Sen. Cynthia Villar, 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.

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. With eight stations across the country, its programs and projects align with the DA’s “Masaganang Ani, Mataas na Kita” battle cry. (Julian Macadamia, PhilRice)