The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) will distribute more than P3 billion worth of inbred rice seeds to farmers nationwide to bolster the rice variety’s production.

In a statement, PhilRice said it is set to hand out 4.27 million bags (20 kilograms per bag) of certified inbred rice seeds this 2023 wet—2024 dry cropping season.

It is mostly funded by the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund’s (RCEF) seed program with a budget of P3 billion while the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) National Rice Program (NRP) earmarked P700,000 for this scheme.

“Through the integrated efforts of RCEF Seed Program and the DA-NRP’s inbred seed strategy, we are expecting to serve 1.69 million farmers starting March 16,” said Flordeliza Bordey, director of PhilRice’s RCEF Program Management Office.

PhilRice said the program, which complements the Marcos administration’s hybrid rice production strategy as outlined in its food security agenda, will its coverage to 77 from 42 provinces within all rice-producing regions.

Inbred rice seeds will not be distributed to Batanes, Basilan, Tawi-tawi and Sulu due to limited rice areas.

PhilRice said this can plant 1.97 million hectares in 1,319 cities and municipalities nationwide.

PhilRice will handle the planning, acquisition and delivery of the certified seeds in coordination with the DA’s regional field offices while local government units will help in providing the seeds to the beneficiaries.

Certified seeds up for distribution were chosen based on their adaptability to the local conditions and resistance to insect pest and disease outbreaks.

The seeds were sourced from local seed growers cooperatives and associations that are part of the RCEF seed program, a component of the rice fund focusing on inbred rice seed development, propagation and promotion.

The program has 64 cooperatives with more than 3,400 seed growers as members. (Jordeene B. Lagare – @inquirerdotnet)