Rice industry rises amidst challenges

Author: DA Communications Group | 7 February 2022

Filipino farmers are now reveling gains from the Rice Enhancement Competitiveness Fund (RCEF), as the rice sector registers record harvest levels year after year.

According to Agriculture Secretary William Dar, since the installation of the RCEF, rice yield and farmers’ income have shown significant increase.

RCEF, mandated by the Rice Tariffication Law, has significantly increased rice yield of farmers posting a P10,000 per hectare increment in gross income. The fund has also contributed to the decrease in cost production.

“We have posted record harvests for the last two years at 19.2 million metric tons (MMT) in 2020 and 19.96 MMT in 2021,” he said.

The agri chief stressed that even with the challenges of Covid-19 pandemic, and the ill effects of typhoons and flooding, the rice industry continues to thrive.

He added that the steady increase in the sufficiency level of the country’s major crop was attained because of the big budget allotted to the sector.

“Last year, we were given P62 billion (B) for the development of the industry, and it just shows that when we have enough funding, we can implement more programs and be more productive,” he said.

The Secretary explained that with an adequate budget for rice, DA is able to implement science-based initiatives, effective farm systems and technologies, as well as distribute seeds, fertilizer, and machinery support, all for the welfare of Filipino small rice farmers.

Sec. Dar was in Tagbilaran on February 7, 2022, for the distribution of interventions to the province of Bohol, which has been badly beaten by Typhoon Odette.

Among the support awarded was the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RFFA) for the 52,819 farmer-beneficiaries totaling to P267.7 million (M).

Under RFFA, every farmer tilling two hectares or less, will be receiving P5,000 in unconditional cash assistance.

“These are part of the excess tariff collected in 2020, totaling to more than P7B. Last year, the collection reached P8.8B, which means that we will reach out and help more farmers,” Dar explained.

While in Bohol, the agri chief distributed other assistance packages through the SURE Aid Loan and Agri-Negosyo  Programs, both under the DA-Agricultural Credit Policy Council, Quick Response Fund, Swine Recovery Program, and assorted inputs to aid rehabilitation efforts in the province for different agricultural industries.

The Secretary also committed additional support including processing facilities for poultry, livestock, fishery, coconut, and other crops, to be lodged under the Philippine Rural Development Project.

Agri-fishery aid awarded to Bohol for the year amounts to P2B in total. ### (Adora Rodriguez, DA-AFID)

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