THE Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said it approved the release of P455.59 million for the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) in the first quarter.
The funds cover the operating requirements of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and three government-owned and -controlled corporations in administering RCEF.
“The fund, also known as the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund, is intended to improve the productivity and competitiveness of local rice farmers and increase their income through the provision of farm machinery and equipment, rice seed development, propagation, and promotion, expanded rice credit assistance, and rice extension services.”
RCEF is a component of Republic Act 11203 or Rice Tariffication Law, which sets aside P10 billion a year from rice import tariffs to modernize the rice industry through the provision of machinery, seed, and fertilizer support, among others.
“In our quest for food security for all under President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.’s vision of Bagong Pilipinas, we will continue to support programs that boost the local production of major agricultural commodities, including rice, which is a staple food in almost every Filipino household,” Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman said in a statement.
The DBM approved the release of Notices of Cash Allocation worth P431.79 million for the operating requirements of RCEF implementing agencies.
The Philippine Rice Research Institute obtained the top allocation of P178.14 million, followed by the Land Bank of the Philippines (P133.65 million) and the Development Bank of the Philippines (P120 million).
The DBM also approved the release of P23.79 million for the DA’s operating cash requirements for RCEF.
“Of the approved amount of P23.79 million, P10.972 million was released to DA’s Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), while the remaining P12.823 million was released to the DA’s Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (DA-PhilMech),” it added. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson