THE PHILIPPINE Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is targeting the distribution of seeds starting October for the next planting and harvesting season.

Iyong ibang mag-aani ng September, pag harvest nila, magstart na naman yung planting nila for the dry season, so ang tinatarget natin na distribution nung ating mga seeds ay from October to December para just in time for the planting next year (There are those who will start planting after harvesting this September in preparation for the dry season, so we are targeting to distribute seeds from October to December just in time for the planting season next year),” Flordeliza H. Bordey, deputy executive director for special concerns on the implementation of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), said in a chance interview.

Ms. Bordey said as of July 18, the agency has received a Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) from the Department of Budget and Management amounting to P2.09 billion of the P3 billion allotted for the seed program of the RCEF.

Asked for an update, she said in a text message that the notice of cash allotment is yet to be received by PhilRice.

Broken down, P1.99 billion will be used for buying of seeds, while the remaining P100 million will be used for extension services.

Despite not receiving the budget yet, she said the agency is doing all preparatory activities, which include securing the source of the seeds.

Yung pakikipag-usap namin sa mga seed grower cooperatives and associations na magiging sources noong ating binhi…. Naka-ready na sila…. Ipapa-certify sa National Seed Quality Control Services yung kanilang mga binhi, so ensured tayo na iyong supply ng binhi natin ay mayroon sa takdang panahon (We have reached out to seed grower cooperatives and associations who will be our sources of seeds…. They are ready…. Their seeds will be certified by the National Seed Quality Control Services so seed supply is ensured),” she explained.

Roughly one million farmers will benefit from the initial distribution of certified seeds of inbred rice varieties.

Initially, Department of Agriculture-accredited groups will be receiving the seeds and then “eventually yung mga (the) individual members ng mga (of these) organizations na ito, sila yung (are our) target natin sa (for) seeds,” Ms. Bordey said. — Vincent Mariel P. Galang