In celebration of the first year anniversary of the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL), Agriculture Secretary William Dar led the ceremonial harvesting using a combine harvester in a farmer’s one-hectare farmlot planted with certified seeds from Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF)-Seed Program on March 5, 2020, in Manaoag, Pangasinan.
With the implementation of the law on tariff, RCEF was created to enhance the productivity and competitiveness through the provision of quality seeds, farm machinery, credit, and extension services.
The farmlot is owned by Rogelio Comesario who is one of the farmer-beneficiaries of the RCEF seed assistance from the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice).
“Binigyan ako ng PhilRice ng dalawang bag na NSIC RC222. Masaya at nabigyan kami ng binhi. De-kalidad po ang binhi kase mataas ang aming inani. Noon umaani lang kami ng 120 bags per hectare. Noong itinanim namin yung NSIC RC222, tumaas po ang ani namin, 140-150 bags per hectare,” said Comesario.
Attended by more than 200 farmers and local officials, the ceremonial harvesting highlights how RTL and RCEF will make Filipino farmers more competitive and at par with the neighboring rice-producing countries. It also looks into the long-term benefits of RTL to the farmers and rice farming in the country as a whole.
“Dahil sa natutunan ko, kumpiyensa ako ngayon na tataas talaga ang aking ani,” said Comesario.
The component programs of RCEF have been implemented since October 2019 in complementation with the existing DA interventions.
With barely five months in its implementing stage, DA through RCEF, is hoping to further improve palay productivity and reduce production costs – all to ensure the profitability of Filipino rice farmers. ### (Rita dela Cruz, DA Communications Group)