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NE solon eyes RCEF extension

The farm machineries distributed to a batch of Nueva Ecija farmers. Contributed photo

SCIENCE CITY OF MUNOZ – A Nueva Ecija legislator is eyeing a six-year extension of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), the P10-billion farmers’ support program under the Rice Tariffication Law (RA 11203).

Nueva Ecija 3rd District Rep. Ria Vergara disclosed that she will introduce a bill to extend RCEF for at least six years to further empower the agriculture sector, particularly rice farmers, as she graced the distribution of P107.7-million worth of farm machineries and equipment at the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (DA-PhilMech) here recently.

“Maghahain ako ng batas para i-extend pa ang RCEF kahit another six years o kung pwede ay sampung taon. Para yung P10 billion na kinukuha galing sa taripa ng imported na bigas ay patuloy na matulungan ang mga rice farmers para mas lumakas ang ating rice industry,” Vergara said.

The current RCEF which provides for an automatic allocation of P10 billion for rice production development program spans six years since RA 11203 was enacted in 2019.

 Vergara, along with DA Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban and DA-PHilMech executive director Dionisio Alvindia, together with representatives from the Office of Senator Cynthia Villar and local government officials, led the turnover ceremony to 59 Farmers’ Cooperatives and Associations (FCAs).

According to the DA, the program is part of agriculture’s transition to mechanization which is one of the four components of RCEF under RA 11203. 

The program aims to elevate the farmers’ productivity, profitability, and competitiveness through mechanized production and post-production systems.

Mechanization gets 50% of RCEF allocation which is equivalent to P5 billion annually.

Among the machineries recently turned over to FCAs included 15 units of hand tractors, 27 units of walk-behind rice transplanters, two units of riding-type rice transplanters, two units of precision rice seeders, three units of rice reapers, 25 units of rice combine harvesters, and 14 units of six-ton recirculating dryers.

Alvindia said the implementation of the RCEF aimed at reducing production costs and at the same time, increasing the yields of the rice farmers.

He said that through the implementation of RCEF since 2019, there are more than 21,000 units of machinery that have already been distributed nationwide that benefited some 1.3 million rice farmers.

From the farmers, Dante Lazatin of Nacatamaaco Irrigators’ Association, Inc. in Guimba, Nueva Ecija expressed gratitude to the government for the program.

“Salamat po sa RCEF. Pag-ibinigay ang mga post-harvest facilities natin, magiging competitive tayo. Ipatupad lang po nating mga lider ng magsasaka nang tama. Just imagine, gigiling ka, may sorter, may separator, so makakapagbenta na po tayo,” Lazatin said. 


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