Republic Act No. 11203 otherwise known as the “Rice Tariffication Law” was promulgated to ensure food security and to make the country’s agriculture sector viable, efficient and globally competitive. The law created the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) or Rice Fund to improve rice farmers’ competitiveness and income amidst liberalization of the Philippine rice trade policy that lifted quantitative restrictions on rice imports and replaced it with tariffs, among others. RCEF has a PHP 10 billion annual appropriation for the next six years, to be allocated and disbursed as follows:
i. Rice farm machinery and equipment (50%) - The Mechanization Program
The program aims to raise rice farmers’ productivity, profitability and global competitiveness through strengthened access and use of appropriate production and postproduction mechanization technologies, which specifically aims to:
- Make accessible to rice farmers the appropriate rice production and postharvest machinery and equipment through to the farmer cooperatives, associations (FCAs).
- Promote among Filipino rice farmers the use of efficient and cost reducing rice mechanization interventions.
- Strengthen local agricultural machinery manufacturing industry through aggressive technology development, fabrication and manufacturing.
Lead Implementing Agency: Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech)
ii. Rice seed development, propagation, and promotion (30%) - The Seed Program
The program aims to to increase the adoption of certified inbred seeds and integrated crop management through the following projects:
- Promoting and distributing certified seeds of inbred rice varieties
- Mobilizing and strengthening local seed production
- Supporting variety development
Lead Implementing Agency: Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice)
iii. Expanded rice credit assistance (10%) - The Credit Program
This component aims to make direct lending program available in the form of a credit facility with minimal interest rates and minimum collateral requirements to rice farmers and cooperatives, to be managed equally by the LandBank of the Philippines (LBP) and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).
For this, Landbank will lend up to PHP 500 million annually for the next six years to rice farmers registered in the RSBSA and to DA-accredited cooperatives. For on-lending cooperatives, an interest rate of 0% per annum shall be provided as long as effective pass-on rate to end borrowers is not higher than 6% per annum.
iv. Rice extension services (10%) - The Extension Services Program
This intends to enhance the capabilities of the Rice Fund beneficiaries on modernized inbred rice and seed production and other relevant skills for improved competitiveness and income, with the following projects:
- Design and Delivery of Training Programs, Enterprise Development Assistance and Communication Support Services
- Development of Farm Schools
- Implementation of a Training Scholarship Scheme
Lead Implementing Agency: Agricultural Training Institute (ATI)
Partner Agencies: PhilMech, PhilRice, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
RCEF covers 57 provinces with high potential to improve competitiveness (area, yield, cost of production, share of irrigated area). It intends to roughly translates to 1,010 municipalities with about 1.89 million rice farmers listed in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA), and rice cooperatives and associations accredited by the Department of Agriculture, who meet the following eligibility criteria:
- Must be accredited by DA or any accrediting government agency recognized by DA
- With members whose rice farms can cover a cluster of at least 20ha in one to two adjacent villages in one selected city or municipality
- Must be included in the DA-updated RSBSA;
- Must be a member of DA-accredited FO; and
- Must be farming in rice fields located in the selected municipalities