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RCEF finances distribution of 2 million bags of seed ahead of El Niño

THE Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) said the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) Seed Program has financed the distribution of about two million bags of seed, including early-maturing varieties, in anticipation of the El Niño dry spell.

PhilRice said the early-maturing varieties were tapped to help farmers harvest before any El Niño-induced droughts intensify.

“Early-maturing varieties have better probability of ‘escaping’ the drought that the El Niño may cause in the last quarter of the year,” said Flordeliza H. Bordey, director of the RCEF Program Management Office at PhilRice.

PhilRice said farmers received a variety of Green Super Rice known as National Seed Industry Council Registration Certificate 480, (NSIC Rc 480) which matures in 107 days and yields an average of 3.2-4.4 tons per hectare (t/ha) in a rain-fed ecosystem.

Meanwhile, certified seed NSIC Rc 27, known as Katihan 3, has been also delivered. The variety is considered optimized for upland areas.

“With 2.7-4.3t/ha yield in upland conditions, NSIC Rc 27 also matures in 107 days,” PhilRice said.

Eligible farmers — those listed in the Registry System for the Basic Sectors in Agriculture — will also receive other varieties with similar maturity characteristics, including NSIC Rc 222 (Tubigan 18), NSIC Rc 436 (Tubigan 47), and NSIC Rc 440 (Tubigan 39).

The PhilRice El Niño task force recommends the use of early-maturing varieties, water-saving technologies, the practice of crop diversification, and taking out crop insurance. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera

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