ROSARIO, LA UNION – Farmer-beneficiaries of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF)-Seed Program are happy with the Binhi e-Padala system, a digitally-aided seed distribution mechanism established for faster and easier seed distribution.

In this system, select farmers are informed through a text message about their schedule for receiving seeds, their claim codes, and details about their seed allocation.

Jayson Albay, one of the farmer-beneficiaries, said it is convenient for farmers like him who hail from remote areas.

“We no longer need to wait for long hours to get our seeds. Today, I received the seeds with no hassle,” Albay shared.

He also mentioned that the new system helps limit the crowd and minimize possible exposure to COVID-19 because of the assigned schedules.

Meanwhile, Victoriano Petina Jr., President of the BUED CIS DAM 1 Irrigators’ Service Association, Inc., said the system allowed them to choose their preferred varieties.

“This digital system informs us about the seed distribution schedule so farmers don’t need to travel back and forth just to check their schedules. Now, we can also select our preferred varieties unlike before when we were left with whichever variety is delivered in our area,” he stated.

The DA-PhilRice continues to test the efficiency of the Binhi e-Padala system in select areas in the country. Previous farmer-beneficiaries with active phone numbers are called prior to seed distribution to confirm their participation.

During the 2022 dry season, 13,427 farmers from 31 La Union municipalities received seeds from the program through Binhi e-Padala. The system will be mainstreamed these coming cropping seasons to benefit more farmers.

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 from the rice tariff earnings of the country. 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.

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