Agriculture Secretary William Dar underscored that the convergence of the four components of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) will be a key to the successful implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL).
During the RCEF Program Steering Committee (PSC) Meeting on April 1, 2022, Secretary Dar asked the rice mechanization, seed distribution, skills development, and credit components to present and discuss the convergence map of all RCEF interventions.
“I really would like to see to it that the RTL is a success story, and we are doing things properly in convergence and all the components have to be reminded that we only work in integrated fashion, converging our efforts in the FCAs (farmers’ cooperative and associations) that are now identified,” the agri chief said.
He also requested for the list of FCAs where the major components are converging and a summary of what inputs or machineries have been given for a full account of what have been done in the last three years.
“I want all components to have a three-year report of what have been done, mas lalo po rito sa convergence natin sa mga FCAs na gusto nating tulungan at ating tinutulungan,” the secretary stressed.
He added that the three-year report should spell out real convergence and that a comprehensive narrative of the components’ individual and unified performances would be material in terms of the midterm evaluation of RTL and RCEF.
Secretary Dar also reminded the RCEF components to fully involve and closely coordinate their programs with the Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Offices (DA-RFOs) that are already at the front lines.
“Dapat palaging mayroong malakas na ugnayan at partisipasyon ang RFOs, because they have the ability to help in many ways not only in terms of their knowledge and their databases, but they also distribute machines and the like. So, complementation, synergy is needed,” he said.
During the PSC Meeting, the group also discussed the RCEF Impact Monitoring System, upgrading of agri-farm machineries, midterm evaluation of the impacts of the RTL, and the 2022 implementation of the RCEF-Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RFFA).
The PSC is composed of representatives from concerned government agencies including the DA, National Economic and Development Authority, Department of Finance, Land Bank of the Philippines, Development Bank of the Philippines, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, among others.
Key officials of the DA-Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech), DA-Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), and the DA-Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) were also present during the meeting. ### (Gumamela Celes Bejarin/DA-AFID)