DA holds regional consultation in Mindanao on RCEF use
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol has led a consultation in Mindanao to ensure that the P10-billion budget from the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) matches the needs of the members of Irrigators Associations (IAs) and Small Water Impounding System Associations (SWISAs).
Attended by more than 400 participants, the event served as a venue for concerned agencies to discuss their proposed plans and projects to the beneficiaries and concerned stakeholders of the RCEF.
Farmers and other stakeholders, for their part, expressed concerns and clarified gray areas relative to the new fund made available to address effects of the Rice Trade Act (RTA).
Under RTA, the RCEF fund will be divided among the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization for machinery and equipment, Philippine Rice Research Institute for high-yielding rice seeds, Agricultural Training Institute for training and extension (P1B), and credit.
“The availability of good seeds and fertilizers are the limiting factors in the productivity of our farmers,” Piñol stressed in his message.
He also underscored the importance of mechanization in order to boost the production of Filipino farmers.
“Mechanization reduces post-harvest losses and makes our farmers work faster and easier,” he said.
RCEF is a six-year program, which intends to increase the competitiveness of Filipino rice farmers in the world market. It will receive P10 billion in funding annually.