Read this in The Manila Times digital edition.
THE chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture and Food dubbed the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) as "game changer," saying it has helped address agriculture challenges and increase rice harvest during the last three years.
In his message during the recent RCEF Program Midterm and Midyear Assessment, Quezon Rep. Wilfrido Enverga, chairman of the panel, said RCEP provided support for the farm sector, including extreme conditions, rising prices of farm input locally and globally, problems in postharvest and marketing, aging farmers and stiff market competition.
"RCEF is truly a game changer," Enverga said.
The RCEF is a component of Republic Act 11203, or the "Rice Tariffication Law." The law allocates P10-billion funds from the country's rice tariff earnings every year to help farmers improve their competitiveness.
"In addition to the DA's annual budget from the National Rice Program, we are provided with a greater chance to provide more assistance and reach more beneficiaries through RCEF," Enverga added.Get the latest news
Enverga cited the report published in April 2022 stating that the RCEF was able to contribute in increasing rice production within three years of its implementation.
"Rice has always been our food staple. I cannot emphasize enough the value of rice for the Filipino people. We recognize your hard work and dedication to our beloved farmers. Rest assured that we will continue to do our best and provide support through sound policies and responsive legislative measures," Enverga added.
"It was successful in promoting lower seed requirements per hectare," Enverga noted.
On the other hand, farmer Jorge Acero of Siniloan, Laguna shared that being a farmer cooperator under RCEF has changed his ways for the better.
"There is an assurance that farmers will receive quality certified seeds for free. Modern machineries are also provided for farmers to use, credit lines with low interest rates and activities that provide additional information on how we can reduce our expenses in farming and increase our yield and income," Acero said.
He emphasized that the program has provided effective and long-lasting solutions for him and his fellow farmers.
Last 2022 dry season, Acero harvested 168 cavans with an average weight of 55.3 kilograms per cavans, or 9.29 tons per hectare, by using certified inbred seeds of NSIC Rc 402 and Rc 436 varieties. He applied the farming practices he learned from the RCEF Seed Program's PalaySikatan technology demonstration.
The DA-Philippine Rice Research Institute leads the RCEF-Seed Program. It is also the government's lead agency on rice research and development.