Nestor Gido (left) and Cristito Ancheta (right)

Farmers from the outskirts of San Marcelino, Zambales have reported significant gains in rice farming after becoming recipients of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) Seed Program.

Cristito Ancheta, 44, said his yield doubled as a result of using the certified seeds he received from the program.

I was surprised that my harvest jumped from 3t/ha to 6t/ha. I sold half of it and earned a gross income of around PhP50,000! I’ve never held such a huge amount of money before,” Ancheta said.

Meanwhile, Nestor Gido, a farmer from the Aeta community of San Marcelino, said he regained his hopes in rice farming when he received support from RCEF and from his fellow farmers.

I have been farming for years but the result was not often promising. I almost gave up when landslides destroyed all our crops. My farmer-neighbors told me to join their association. That opened the opportunity for me to know about RCEF. Our municipal agriculture office (MAO) enrolled me in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA),” Gido narrated.

According to the 41-year-old farmer, the three bags of NSIC Rc 436 from RCEF solved his recurring problem on low yield owing to the use of low-quality seeds.

I remember my hands trembling when I first signed the form for the seeds. After planting the seeds, my yield increased, and so were my hopes for my family and my children’s future,” he said.

Around 160 Aeta farmers in San Marcelino have received seeds from RCEF.

Meanwhile, Municipal Agriculturist Remin Sardo, said that the local government unit also conduct farmer field schools to further help farmers improve their rice production practices.

The RCEF Seed Program is a component of Republic Act 11203 or Rice Tariffication Law, which allocates P3 billion fund every year for seed requirements of rice farmers to help them produce high-quality rice. LGUs, lawmakers and partners assist in its implementation. (Minda Pagaduan, DA-PhilRice)