MANILA, Philippines — Rice farmers with landholdings of more than two hectares may also be provided with high-quality and certified seeds under the National Rice Program (NRP), according to the Department of Agriculture (DA).
Through Memorandum Order 38 signed by Agriculture Secretary William Dar, the DA issued an amendment to the guidelines of the distribution of high quality seeds to farmer beneficiaries under the NRP, stating that farmers with more than two hectares may also be provided with support.
Under the NRP, farmers who have landholdings of two hectares and below shall be prioritized.
“However, in cases where the allocation of the DA-RFO (Regional Field Office) is not enough to cover the requirements of the entire rice area, the quantity of seeds to be provided to farmers with landholdings of more than two hectares will be apportioned based on available seed supply,” the amended guidelines stated.
“This will be done in order to maximize the number of beneficiaries,” it said.
The DA said the allocation per farmer may be set by the DA-RFO and effected through a supplemental guideline.
The guidelines state that farmers that are registered under the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) and encoded in the National Farmers’ and Fishers’ Online-Registry System (NFFRS) or the National Farmer and Fisheries Information System (NFFIS) shall be eligible to receive the support under the NRP.
It added that beneficiaries are preferably members of a rice cluster or farmer cooperatives and associations (FCAs).
The seeds under the NRP will be distributed in 15 hybrid-focused provinces, which are part of the 57 target provinces under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).
“The focus provinces under the NRP were identified to have high potential for hybrid rice adoption based on the magnitude of area planted to hybrid rice,” Dar said earlier.
In addition, high quality seeds will also be distributed in 25 non-RCEF provinces with irrigated and rain-fed lowland areas.
Dar said the project aims to improve productivity of farmers in rice production by expanding high quality seed distribution and utilization of hybrid and certified seed varieties.
It seeks to promote the use of hybrid and inbred rice certified seed varieties most appropriate for specific location and season and increase the adoption of high-quality seeds.
“The use of high-quality seeds is one of the most important contributors to the increased rice production. Selecting high yielding varieties adapted to the area of production, with other desirable characteristics, are basic keys for satisfactory crop performance and yield,” Dar said.
Based on the guidelines, the project aims to obtain a yield increment of one metric ton (MT) per hectare for hybrid seeds and 0.5 MT per hectare for certified seeds by 2023-2024 Dry Season.
It also states that The Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) and the National Rice Program (NRP) shall recommend the National Seed Industry Council (NSIC)- rice varieties to be procured, distributed, and utilized for the project.