“The 947 municipalities and 57 provinces where the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Program will be implemented can make the big difference in terms of growing the value of the produce that we will have during this next semester.”

This was according to Agriculture Secretary William Dar who further stressed that the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) with a P10 billion annual allocation will be a game-changer in improving the productivity and profitability of rice farming through proper implementation.

According to Dar, the dry planting season this November and December will be “a key point in terms of growing the sector, because rice is a dominant commodity and it will contribute to the two percent growth.”

The Agriculture chief also believes that doubling the income of small farmers and fisherfolk in five years’ time is possible.

“We need to unlock the potential of Philippine agriculture.”

“We need today, with this appreciation of this new thinking, to unlock the potential of Philippine agriculture so that its contribution to the economy will be much bigger,” the agriculture head said.

Through the RCEF, P5 billion will be allotted yearly for farm mechanization to improve farm productivity. The other P5 billion from RCEF will be allocated for rice seed development, propagation, and promotion (30%), expanded credit access (10%), and extension services (10%).

“To reduce the cost of production and increase the income of farming and fishing families, pataasin natin ang ani,” Dar said.

“Technology and innovation-based rice production is key for Filipino farmers to be more competitive.” 

He underscored that technology and innovation-based rice production is key for Filipino farmers to be more competitive.

Dar also directed the key officials of the Department of Agriculture (DA) to be objective and transparent to ensure that the farm machinery and equipment given to the farmers are appropriate and comply with the standards.

Speaking in front of municipal and local chief executives (LCEs) during the 2019 National Food Security Summit recently, Dar enjoined the local leaders to also focus on other crops in addition to rice.

“Kung tayo ay sama-sama sa magandang implementasyon ng lahat ng banner programs ng Department of Agriculture, of course with the projects that the local government units are implementing, then we will turn the tide against the very anemic growth of this sector,” he said.

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