ABOUT 57,000 rice farmers in Negros Occidental are getting a total of almost P174 million in certified seeds through the government’s Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).
Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) – Negros Occidental director Gerardo Estoy Jr., on the sidelines of the ceremonial seed distribution at the Provincial Capitol Grounds in Bacolod City Tuesday, November 19, said the province has a total allocation of 57,118.25 bags covering 51,118.25 hectares per cropping.
In terms of amount, per bag of certified rice seeds costs P1,520 thus, the allocation for the province is almost P87 million per cropping.
Estoy said they started the distribution of 2,035.5 bags to farmers in Sipalay City on Monday, while farmers in Valladolid town received a total of 2,773 bags during the activity Tuesday.
“By second week of December, we target to fully distribute the seeds to 29 other localities in the province in time for the planting season,” he said, adding that the same volume of certified rice seeds will be distributed to the farmers during the first cropping season next year.
The RCEF, or Rice Fund, is created under the Republic Act 11203, or the Trade Liberalization Law. It is taken from the tariff revenues of the rice being imported by the country.
The program mainly aims to help improve the competitiveness of Filipino rice farmers and augment their income while sustaining the resilience and responsiveness.
The RCEF has an annual appropriation of P10 billion for the next six years.
Of the figure, 50 percent will be allotted for rice farm machinery and equipment; 30 percent for rice seed development, propagation and promotion; 10 percent for expanded rice credit assistance; and 10 percent for rice extension services.
Other recipient-localities in the province are Bago City with 9,615.5 bags; Kabankalan City – 5,590.5 bags; Cauayan – 3,652 bags; San Carlos City – 3,368 bags; Hinoba-an – 2,604.5 bags; Himamaylan City – 2,274.5 bags; Sipalay City – 2,035.5 bags; Murcia – 1,805 bags; Moises Padilla – 1,764 bags; Binalbagan – 1,751.5 bags; Isabela – 1,742.5 bags; La Castellana – 1,732 bags; Calatrava – 1,611 bags; Hinigaran – 1,457.5 bags; and Pontevedra – 1,448 bags.
Farmers in Candoni will get 1,304.5 bags; Sagay City – 1,227.75 bags; Salvador Benedicto – 1,169 bags; Ilog – 1,116.5 bags; Cadiz City – 1,211 bags; San Enrique – 1,114.5 bags; Victorias City – 984.5 bags; La Carlota City – 693 bags; Bacolod City – 646.5 bags; Silay City – 627.5 bags; E.B. Magalona – 616 bags; Manapla – 475 bags; Pulupandan – 294 bags; Escalante City – 271.5 bags; and Toboso – 180 bags.
Estoy said recipient-farmers are identified based on various criteria like they should be members of farmers organizations then they should fill out in the Registry System for Basic Sector in Agriculture (RSBSA), among others.
Estoy said aside from seed distribution, they aim to increase the yield and reduce the losses of the farmers through provision of trainings on various farming technologies.
“The free seeds have no use if farmers do not know the proper ways or new technologies for rice production,” he said, adding that it is the PhilRice that facilitates the procurement of seeds.
These “high quality” seeds up for distribution are sourced from seed growers in Negros Occidental, the agency official also said.