Rice farmers in Bicol region who were affected by typhoon Rolly received 125,445 bags of certified seeds from the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF)-Seed Program implemented by the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice).
Referred as “bags of hope” by PhilRice Bicol Director Victoria Lapitan, the certified inbred seeds were distributed to around 45,000 farmers in Albay, Camarines Sur, Masbate, and Sorsogon.
“In these challenging times, government programs are laid out to unburden our rice farmers. The provision of these high-quality seeds to registered farmers is hoped to bring optimism to the region’s rice sector,” Lapitan said.
Based on studies, certified seeds of recommended varieties can provide a 10% increase in yield or higher with good management practices. Farmers received NSIC Rc 222, Rc 216, Rc 160, Rc 402, Rc 480, and PSB Rc 10.
Amidst challenges in seed delivery due to damaged roads and bridges, PhilRice Bicol has completed the release of seeds in Region 5 with assistance from the local government units and the Department of Public Works and Highway.
In Region 8, delivery was fulfilled with the release of more than 110,000 seed bags in Biliran, Leyte, Western Samar, and Southern Leyte.
The RCEF-Seed Program – a component of the Rice Tariffication Law, allocates P3 billion fund every year for the seed requirements of rice farmers and to help farmers produce rice that can compete in the international market. The local government units and lawmakers assist in its implementation.