The Department of Agriculture on Tuesday said it has distributed at least 1.77 million bags of certified inbred seeds to rice farmers for this year’s wet season planting.
In a virtual briefing, DA Assistant Secretary Noel Reyes said a total of 313,617 farmer-beneficiaries have benefited from the seeds component under the PHP10-billion Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) as of June 7. This covered 55 provinces and 843 municipalities.
For the credit component, Reyes said the Development Bank of the Philippines has already released PHP463.5 million in loans, while the Land Bank of the Philippines granted the loan applications of 2,658 farmers and 21 cooperatives with a total loan amount of PHP484.29 million.
Reyes noted that farmers were also provided with farm machinery and equipment under the mechanization component, including 495 four-wheel tractors, 356 rice combine harvesters, 576 hand tractors, 103 rice reapers, 52 precision seeders, 106 walk behind transplanters, 118 riding type transplanters, 347 floating tillers, and 46 rice mills.
Reyes said extension services were also offered under RCEF to train specialists, farmers, seed growers, inspectors, and analysts, among others.
Aside from the RCEF, Reyes highlighted that the DA also has a rice resiliency project with a funding of PHP8.5 billion, aimed at producing more rice to increase the country’s sufficiency level.
He noted that this project is part of the Duterte administration’s “Plant, Plant, Plant Program” or “Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat (ALPAS) Laban sa Covid-19”.
“Ito ay tututok sa malawakang paggamit ng mga teknolohiyang makapagpapataas ng ani at kita ng mga magsasaka (This will focus on increasing the use of technology that could increase the output and income of our farmers),” Reyes said.
This would include the distribution of fertilizer for RCEF areas, inbred seed and fertilizer for areas not covered in RCEF, hybrid seed and fertilizer for farmers who will try a hybrid, and fertilizer for hybrid farmers. (PNA)