As the country achieves its all-time high rice production of 19.3 M MT in 2020, the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice) reported that it has already achieved 100% seed deliveries for the dry season.
Through the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF)-Seed program, 1.7 M bags of high-quality inbred rice seeds were delivered to 957 municipalities from the target 55 provinces all over the country as of Feb. 7.
More than half a million farmers-beneficiaries received 1.5 M bags or 87% of the distributed bags. In coordination with LGU partners, DA-PhilRice continuously distributes the remaining seeds until end of February.
Sen. Cynthia Villar, head of senate committee on agriculture, commended PhilRice for achieving its target.
“I congratulate DA-PhilRice for achieving its targets despite the threat and the limitations that the current pandemic has brought us,” Villar said during the recent annual review of the RCEF Seed and Extension Programs.
PhilRice also presented the pilot-testing of Binhi e-Padala that incorporated the use of digital voucher on seed distribution making it more efficient for the farmers to receive high-quality inbred seeds without the long queues.
Agriculture Chief William Dar, meanwhile, encouraged PhilRice to continue strengthening ties with local government units (LGUs) so that partners will be more motivated in taking their part on national programs.
“We have to be strategic, inclusive, and collective, so that partners like LGUs will do their share because they are the leaders in their respective units. Our direction is working towards a province-led agriculture, fishery, and extension system,” he said.
Dar further emphasized the holistic approach of the department called ONE-DA that aims to pursue inclusive approach to accelerate the transformation towards a modern and industrialized Philippine agriculture. “All strategies are being mobilized to make it possible that we take with us our rice farmers in our journey for development. We really want our farmers to improve their yield while lowering their production cost,” he said.
Part of the plans of PhilRice is aligned to the inclusive approach of DA. “Among our ways forward this year is the intensified partnership with DA Regional Field Offices, LGUs, and other stakeholders,” said Dr. Flordeliza Bordey, RCEF-Seed Program director and PhilRice deputy executive director.
The distribution of seeds to rice farmers is a component of RCEF under the Rice Tariffication Law.