The Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research (DA-PhilRice) is ready to distribute 4.27 million bags (20kg/bag) of certified inbred rice seeds, expanding its program coverage from 42 to 77 provinces within all rice-producing regions in the country.
Jointly funded by the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) Seed Program and the DA’s National Rice Program (NRP) with P3 billion and P700 million, respectively, the certified inbred rice seed distribution is intended to complement and supplement the hybrid rice production strategy of Pres. Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. under his food security agenda.
Dr. Flordeliza Bordey, director of the RCEF Program Management Office at DA-PhilRice, said that the allocation can plant 1.97 million hectares in 1,319 cities and municipalities nationwide this 2023-2024 cropping season. Batanes, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, and Sulu are not included due to limited rice areas.
The RCEF Seed Program has distributed more than 11.7 million bags of certified inbred seeds in 42 provinces since its first implementation in 2020 dry season. Results of the seasonal monitoring and evaluation of the program showed that adoption of certified inbred seeds in its covered provinces doubled from more than 40 to 84 percent leading to increased average yields.
Meanwhile, the inbred rice varieties to be distributed were selected based on their adaptability to the local conditions and resistance to insect pest and disease outbreaks.
These inbred varieties include NSIC Rc 222, Rc 402, and Rc 480, which are popular owing to high yield performance, and NSIC Rc 216, Rc 160, and Rc 218, which are preferred for good eating quality. Varieties that are adaptable to less favorable environments, including drought-prone areas are also allotted for specific locations.
Next generation varieties such as NSIC Rc 506, Rc 508, Rc 512, and Rc 534 that have comparable yields with hybrids are also being introduced through RCEF.
Dr. John de Leon, executive director of DA-PhilRice said these varieties, which also underwent participatory selection among farmers, are beneficial to the rice producers and the industry.
The certified inbred seeds that will be distributed to qualified beneficiaries were sourced from local seed growers cooperatives and associations (SGC/As) engaged by the RCEF Seed Program.
The Bureau of Plant Industry-National Seed Quality Control Services leads in strict field inspection and laboratory analysis to ensure that the seeds produced by the SGC/As pass the prescribed quality standards.
List of qualified beneficiaries and their rice areas will be fully based on the Farmers and Fisherfolks Registry System, which is the encoded version of the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture.
Authorized representatives are allowed for farmers who are sick, senior citizens, pregnant, OFW, or those with differentiated abi-lity, or deprived of liberty. Individual representatives are permitted to proxy one beneficiary.
Members of farmers’ cooperatives and associations (FCA) can also authorize a representative, as documented in an FCA resolution signed by requesting farmer-members.
The RCEF ID or the DA Interventions Monitoring Card that were previously provided can also serve as farmers’ identification. Those who are FFRS-registered but do not have these can present other valid IDs and their RSBSA stub.
DA-PhilRice encourages farmers to coordinate with the LGUS for more information about the guidelines of the certified inbred seed distribution in their localities.
To further support farmers’ productivity, the DA-PhilRice through its RCEF Seed and Extension Programs will also cascade to select LGUs the results of the massive soil analysis of farmers’ fields through the use of the Minus-One Element Technique (MOET) kit and MOET Mobile Application. The RCEF Seed Program is a component of Republic Act 11203 or Rice Tariffication Law, which allocates P3 billion fund every year to develop, propagate and promote high-quality inbred rice seeds to help improve the competitiveness of the Filipino rice farmers. – Press release