RICE FARMERS are reporting improved yields from hybrid seed provided by the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) said.
In a statement, PhilRice said that the average yield of RCEF seed recipients increased to 4.36 metric tons (MT) per hectare in 2023, from 3.63 MT a year earlier.
“Implementers reported that seed recipients increased their average yield as shown in the midterm and seasonal monitoring and evaluation surveys conducted in the 42 original target provinces of the RCEF Seed Program,” it said.
The palay (unmilled rice) harvest in the Philippines was 20.06 million MT in 2023, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.
As of Jan. 21, PhilRice has distributed hybrid seed to 2 million farmer beneficiaries. About 2 million hectares are planted to hybrid seed per year.
“Surveys also showed that high utilization rate of RCEF seed led to the increased adoption of certified seeds in target provinces,” PhilRice said.
It added that 66 seed grower cooperatives and associations were engaged to disburse and deliver seed to farmers.
“More than 4,000 farmers were also trained in the production of high-quality inbred rice and farm mechanization and on pest and nutrient management,” PhilRice said.
The RCEF Seed and Rice Extension Services programs are components of Republic Act 11203 or Rice Tariffication Law, which sets aside P10 billion a year from rice import tariffs to make rice farmers more competitive.
RCEF’s target is to increase yield to 5 MT per hectare by 2025. — Adrian H. Halili