The Rice Competitiveness Extension Fund-Rice Extension Services Program (RCEF-RESP) had reached hundreds of thousands of rice farmers and stakeholders through training and communication services since the Rice Tariffication Law was signed in 2019.
“We have reached more farmers and extension workers for the past two years of RCEF implementation. We will even more intensify our efforts for 2021 as we ensure that we deliver the information and technology that farmers need the most to increase their yield and reduce production cost,” said Karen Eloisa T. Barroga, vice-chair of the Technical Working Group of RCEF- RESP.
Under the training component of the program, some 1,600 trainers across the country were taught on rice crop production, modern rice farming techniques, seed production, and farm mechanization.
Four different types of training with different durations and participants have been conducted to help improve yield while lowering losses in rice production. For PhilRice, these trainings include Rice Specialists’ Training Course, Training of Trainers, Farmers Field Schools, and seminars/field days. The Institute co-implements RESP with Agriculture Training Institute (ATI), and Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMech) under DA and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
As the participants come from different provinces, trainings have been modified methodically to cope with the movement restrictions due to the global pandemic. The training graduates are farmers, farm owners/staff, and government employees from ATI, TESDA, and local government agricultural offices.
On communication services, DA-PhilRice in 2020 developed more than 200 IEC materials in the form of leaflets, posters, flipcharts, handouts, flash cards, technology calendars, and videos that cover topics on modernized rice production. About 3 million materials were produced currently being distributed to the farmers while social media posts reached about 3 million engagement.
DA-PhilRice survey showed that 97% of about 3,500 rice farmers who watched the videos and received the leaflets during seed distribution found the materials useful in increasing their knowledge on rice production.
“For 2021, the extension component of RCEF would focus on key messages on the topics land levelling, crop establishment, nutrient management, and pest management to help farmers be more competitive in the international rice market,” Barroga said.