RICE farmers in Bago City have received 3,000 bags of certified seeds from the Department of Agriculture (DA), through its Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).
City Agriculturist Carlito Indencia, who was present at the ceremonial turnover at the city’s Manuel Y. Torres Memorial Coliseum and Cultural Center Thursday, December 12, said they actually received the initial 3,000 bags last week.
Indencia said they target to cover 5,000 hectares of rice farms so they have yet to receive about 7,000 bags from the agency.
“Some farmers have already planted for 2019, so we will accommodate those in the north area for third cropping,” he said, adding that the seeds initially distributed will benefit over a thousand rice farmers in the city.
Data obtained earlier by SunStar Bacolod from the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) – Negros Occidental showed that about 57,000 rice farmers in the province are getting a total of almost P174 million in certified seeds through RCEF.
The province has a total allocation of 57,118.25 bags covering 51,118.25 hectares per cropping.
In terms of amount, per 20-kilo bag of certified rice seeds costs P1,520 thus, the allocation for the province is almost P87 million per cropping.
Of the total volume of seeds, Bago City will get 9,615.5 bags.
Other recipient-localities in the province are Sipalay City with 2,035.5 bags; Valladolid - 2,773 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; 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.
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.
For Bago City, Indencia said the seeds are big help to the farmers as this will lessen their production cost.
Instead of using the fund for the purchase of seeds, farmers can use it for other inputs and farm activities, he added.
In terms of distribution, the city agriculturist said farmers with an area of 0.5 hectare and below will get one bag of rice seeds.
Those with 0.5 to one hectare have an allocation of two bags, three sacks for one to 1.5 hectares, and four bags for more than 1.5 hectares.
Aside from RCEF, the city government has also distributed seeds to rice farmers using the local government fund.
Indencia said they already released 3,500 40-kilo bags during the first cropping season. The release for another 1,500 bags for the second cropping is ongoing.
All in all, the city is releasing 5,000 bags for this year, Indencia said.
“This assistance will really help our farmers especially amid the low prices of palay,” he said, adding that the city continues to implement measures that will boost the rice industry of Bago City, the rice granary of Negros Occidental. *