INBRED RICE seed delivery under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) has reached more than one million bags, the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) said on Friday.

In a statement, PhilRice Deputy Executive Director Flordeliza H. Bordey said 1,128,368 bags of certified inbred rice seeds have been delivered to rice producing cities and municipalities.

Ms. Bordey said the seed deliveries account for almost half of PhilRice’s seed distribution target for the planting season.

“The rice seeds were delivered to 51 provinces, which would be planted in about 126,000 hectares of land. It was achieved despite the difficulties in logistics and other issues in light of the pandemic,” Ms. Bordey said.

The local government units, through its respective agriculture officers, have spearheaded the seed distribution amid the lockdown.

The seeds were given to farmers through barangay scheduling while strictly observing physical distancing.

“As the country’s health workers continue to fight as frontliners to ensure our health and safety, it is also comforting that the rice farmers and agriculture industry workers in the government and private sectors work together to ensure food security of the nation. We can call them the ‘backliners’,”Ms. Bordey said.

Ms. Bordey said certified inbred seeds under the RCEF program could yield 10% or more, compared to farmer-saved seeds from the previous harvest.

“The inbred seeds have high seedling vigor, pure, and uniform crop stand,” Ms. Bordey said.

The RCEF program aims to distribute more than 2.5 million bags of high-quality seeds to more than one million Filipino rice farmers.

PhilRice said farmers practicing the transplanting method and listed in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture can receive one bag of seeds for every half hectare.

Meanwhile, farmers using the direct seeding method can receive two bags of seeds for every half hectare. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave