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In commemoration of the first anniversary of the implementation of Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) in CALABARZON, the regional office of DA led by Regional Director Arnel V. de Mesa had a simple celebration with some 200 rice farmers of Siniloan, Laguna.

Key accomplishments in the implementation of the RCEF program for the past year were shared to the farmers along with the assurance that all qualified farmers will benefit from it.

Director de Mesa said, “Rice Tarrification Law was enacted to give protection to consumers from high rice prices and to provide means, through tarrification of imported rice, to support and strengthen the rice industry, especially our farmers by providing them with quality seeds, machineries, trainings, and/or cash assistance via RCEF.”

In the region, 26,941 bags of certified seeds were distributed to 11,441 farmers; 61 cities and municipalities were validated and set to receive various machineries such as combine harvesters, hand tractors, and floating tillers, to name a few; 22,256 farmers availed of P15,000 SURE Aid at 0% interest; 27,298 farmers most affected by low palay price were given P5,000 each as rice farmer financial assistance (RFFA); and as to extension, continuous trainings for specialists, trainers, and farmers and establishment of additional training sites are being conducted by ATI-CALABARZON.

“Kahit na bumaba yung presyo ng palay, sa tulong naman ng RCEF ay naibsan ang paghihirap naming mga magsasaka dahil sa mga naibigay na libreng seeds at SURE Aid na walang interes at matagal pwedeng bayaran. Inaasahan din namin ang paparating na mga makinaryang ipagkakaloob sa aming grupo dito sa bayan ng Siniloan na siguradong makakatulong sa aming pagbubukid,” Mr. Gener Bautista, one of RCEF beneficiaries, shared.

“Maganda itong RCEF dahil madaming programa ito na nakatuon talaga sa aming magsasaka ng palay upang palakasin ang aming ani at pataasin ang aming kita” Mr. Felipe Perez said referring to the four components of RCEF, to wit, Seed, Credit, Extension, and Mechanization.

During the program, 200 bags of urea and MOP were given to the participants.

“In the long run, I believe that the RTL will provide a very promising future for our rice farmers. We are only at the first year of the implementation of the RCEF and we understand that you, our beloved farmers, may endure for a while. But under the leadership of Secretary William D. Dar with his ‘new thinking in agriculture’ we can maximize the RCEF up to its limits to ensure that its yearly allocation of at least 10-B will reach all rice farmers in the country,” Director de Mesa said. (RFL, DA-RAFIS)