The Philippine Department of Agriculture and PhilRice recently distributed a total of 46,800 bags of high-yielding and stress-tolerant IRRI-developed rice seeds to farmers in the agricultural hubs of Central Visayas. This was done as part of the government-backed Seed Program of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), an initiative that seeks to help local farmers perform better in the international rice market.
Implemented last November 2020, a total of 46,800 bags, with each bag containing 20 kilograms of rice seeds, were distributed to 15 municipalities in Bohol and Negros Oriental. Bohol received a total allocation of 35,970 bags, with a total area coverage of 17,985 hectares that benefited 14,388 farmers. Negros Occidental got a total allocation of 10,830 bags for a total area coverage of 5,415 hectares, with 4,332 farmer beneficiaries.
The inbred rice seeds distributed to the farmers were NSIC Rc222 and NSIC Rc480. Both varieties were developed by the International Rice Research Institute.
Also known as Tubigan 18 or Super Triple 2, Rc222 is a high-yielding inbred with an average yield of 6.1t/ha and a maximum yield of 10t/ha (transplanted). The variety also has intermediate resistance to various stresses, including blast, bacterial blight, and brown planthopper. Rc222 is one of the four most preferred rice varieties of Filipino farmers in irrigated lowland fields nationwide, both for dry and wet seasons.
Rc480 is also known as GSR8, a variety under the Green Super Rice program that developed climate-smart rice lines with resistance to multiple abiotic stresses, helping farmers to be more resilient to climate shocks. RC480 can deliver high and stable yields even with less inputs like water and fertilizer, and can thrive in unfavorable environments like drought, salinity, alkalinity, and iron toxicity. It was one of the best performing new rice varieties recently approved by the National Seed Industry Council (NSIC).
The RCEF Seed Program is a component of Republic Act 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law that allocates a PHP10B fund every year intended for rice farmers.
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