The Department of Agriculture (DA) will give local rice farmers bags of seeds this year. This is to help those affected by the Rice Tariffication law, which liberalizes the rice trade.
In a statement of DA on Thursday, about two million bags of 20kgs/bag rice seeds will be distributed under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) as part of mitigating measures.
The DA said the two million bags or rice seed are expected to cover one million hectares of rice land, which can contribute to the increase of yield up to six tons per hectare in efficient provinces by 2024.
Support local farmers
Due to the implementation of Rice Tariffication law, quantitative restrictions on the importation of rice are removed. Moreover, the imported rice from neighbouring Southeast Asian countries has 35% imposed tariff.
This law also creates RCEF of up to P10 billion that will help local farmers improve their productivity by giving them better farming tools, seeds, and other interventions.
The DA secretary William Dar said among considered provinces are those with high-potential for competitiveness.
“So far, we have identified 57 provinces based on the size of area harvested, yield level, cost of production, and share of irrigated area.”
“These municipalities and cities must also have an annual area planted of more than 500-ha for dry season 2019-2020,” he added.
They selected the beneficiaries from the list of farmers of Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA).
Seeds until December 2020
Until December 2020, each farmer will be receiving seeds for two consecutive cropping seasons. For the October to December planting season, each will also be entitled to a maximum of four bags of inbred seeds depending on their farm size.
Moreover, before the distribution of seeds, Dar said that farmers will be having technical briefings from the Philippine Rice Research Institute regarding the seed preparation, other interventions, and technologies to achieve the target yield in their areas.
“Farmers will also be given rice production manual and seed propagation booklet to help them achieve the yield potential of certified seeds.”
The DA said it has already asked for the assistance of the local government units (LGUs) to expedite the implementation.
LGUs were asked to validate the farmer-beneficiaries, identify their drop-off points and potential temporary seed storage facilities, schedule the delivery, assist in delivery inspections, and also facilitate the distributions of seeds.