The threat of COVID-19 pandemic has not hampered the massive distribution of free, certified inbred rice seeds from the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice) Negros under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) Seed Program.
RCEF Seed Program aims to help improve the productivity and competitiveness of the Filipino rice farmers through massive distribution of free inbred certified seeds, promotion of inbred rice seeds and its associate technologies through technology demonstration activities and communication advocacy and formation and strengthening of farmers’ organization to become seed grower associations.
According to RCEF Focal Person/Project Development Officer Jose Arnel E. Cordova, rice farmers listed in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) and are members of farmers associations or cooperatives accredited by the Department of Agriculture or even individual farmers may avail of the free seeds.
Special protocols were set in place to ensure continuous seed delivery and distribution activities while most parts of the country are under enhanced or general community quarantine.
The following protocols include: local agriculture offices will distribute the forms; farmer-beneficiaries will wait for the scheduled date and time of distribution set by the LGU for their barangay to avoid mass gathering; the farmer or authorized representative will claim the seeds with the RSBSA stub, valid ID or barangay certification and authorization letter if representative will claim in behalf of farmer beneficiary.
During distribution day, farmers and frontliners must observe physical distancing, use face mask, monitor body temperature and disinfect with alcohol or sanitizers. *(LTP/EAD-PIA6 Negros Occidental)