Agriculture Secretary William Dar has ordered the implementing agencies of the seed program to fast track the roll-out of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) assistance to the farmers.
Dar issued the order after the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) through the Agricultural Credit Policy Council has already released the amount of P2.462-billion for two of the RCEF’s component programs.
Of the total budget, the amount P244 million was released to the Development Bank of the Philippines and P180 million to the Land Bank of the Philippines for the RCEF-Credit Program to be loaned out to individual farmers and DA-accredited cooperatives and associations.
For the RCEF-Seed Program, the DBM also released to the DA-Philippine Rice Research Institute P2.038 billion to promote, acquire, and distribute certified seeds of NSIC Rc222, Rc160, Rc216, and 16 other location-specific varieties in the regions. Farmers listed in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) may now receive the seed support.
Funds for the mechanization and extension services programs will be available soon following the DBM’s issuance of the Special Allotment Release Order to DA-Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization, DA-Agricultural Training Institute, and Technical Skills Development Authority. These form part of the P10 billion fund allocated for RCEF in 2019.
Dar said that seed distribution will commence this month for Dry Season 2019-2020. This will cover 57 provinces, with a total area of more than 1 million hectares. A farmer will receive a maximum of 80kg of certified inbred rice seeds for two consecutive seasons depending on the size of his/her farm.
Program components, and complementation with the National Rice Program.
The DA-NPCT has also finalized the protocol for updating the RSBSA. The initial validation shows 1,111,588 unique farmers with 618,725 hectares in 48 out of 57 target provinces from the original version of the RSBSA. The updated RSBS will be available this month to be used as basis in identifying RCEF beneficiaries.
“With this, farmers will be assured that the RCEF is now ready to roll to help them increase their productivity and income,” Dar added.