Digital System Gives Farmers Access to Free Inbred Rice Seeds
Farmers may now claim their free certified inbred rice seeds from the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) - Seed Program of the Department of Agriculture (DA) through the digital Binhi e-Padala system.
Under the system, which keeps the program unhampered amid quarantine restrictions, the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) sends an SMS to a farmer’s validated mobile number indicating his/her name, allocation, pickup point, and assigned schedule.
Farmers may select at least three preferred varieties based on recommended national and regional varieties.
Partner seed grower cooperatives and associations, on the other hand, manage the seed distribution.
Dr. Flordeliza H. Bordey, head of the RCEF-Seed Program Management Office, said on Thursday that the system will shorten farmers’ queuing time in getting seeds, improve the program’s logistics, facilitate next-day payment to seed grower cooperatives for their distributed seeds, and save on transportation costs.
It is the DA that pays the growers for the seeds which are distributed to farmers for free.
Some 7,000 farmers from Kalinga, Ilocos Sur, Quirino, Pampanga, Bulacan, Laguna, Albay, Southern Leyte, Negros Occidental, Davao Del Norte, Davao Oriental, and Lanao Del Norte are enrolled in the new system this wet season.
Under RCEF, qualified farmers in 42 provinces receive 20 kilograms of certified inbred seeds for every half hectare.
“We hope to distribute seeds to more farmers using this digital system. Hence, we remind our farmers to provide a valid mobile number when they register to the RSBSA (Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture),” Bordey said in a statement.
DA-PhilRice launched and piloted the short-messaging service (SMS) system in 21 cities/municipalities together with 13 seed cooperatives across the country for faster and easier seed distribution.
The RCEF-Seed Program -- a component of the Rice Tariffication Law, allocates a PHP3-billion fund every year for the seed requirements of rice farmers and to help them produce grains that can compete in the international market.
Farmers under this program can also avail of trainings, machines, and credit with low interest.
The local government units and lawmakers assist in its implementation.
PhilRice leads the RCEF-Seed Program, and is the government’s lead agency on rice research and development mandated to help ensure a rice-secure Philippines.
Source from: Marilyn Galang(2021). Digital System Gives Farmers Access to Free Inbred Rice Seeds. Retrieved from: Philippine News Agency(June 03, 2021). https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1142488