CENTRAL VISAYAS – To increase the farmers’ awareness and knowledge on Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) or Rice Fund, the Agricultural Training Institute-Regional Training Center 7 (ATI-7) conducted an LGU-led RCEF Information Caravan in the region from July 13 to August 20, 2020.
The LGU-led caravan was purposely designed to roll-out RCEF’s four (4) key programs, namely: a) Rice farm machinery and Equipment; b) Rice seed development, propagation, and promotion; c) Expanded rice credit assistance; and d) Rice extension services to the 25 priority towns of Bohol and 14 in Negros Oriental respectively despite the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Republic Act 11203 has 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 tariff, among others.
RCEF, as stipulated in the Rice Trade Liberalization Law (Republic Act 11203), is designed to aid local rice farmers transition to a new rice regime (i.e., liberalized rice market) within the next six years. Sourced out from the tariff revenues from rice imports, the fund with a P10 billion annual appropriation for the next six years shall be particularly used to empower the local rice farmers to become competitive. To do so, according to our economic managers, local farmers are admonished to boost yield by at least 6t/ha with 30% reduction in the cost of production.
With a total of 39 priority rice municipalities in the region; a total of 1,340 farmers briefed, 167% accomplishment over the 800 farmers’ target.
The modality used by the RCEF Team was through a ready-to-play video prepared by ATI-7 with readily-available printed materials for distribution like RCEF Farmers’ Briefer and Rice Tariffication Brochure.
The RCEF Information Caravan Team is spearheaded by Dr. Merrian Piquero Soliva, Media Production Specialist II as the Project Officer together with Ma. Pamela N. Respecia and Arnel S. Navarro as the technical supporting staff while Center Director, Dr. Carolyn May O. Daquio as the overall adviser.