Press Release
April 27, 2021

Villar extolls accomplishments of Rice Tarification Law

On the second year of Rice Tarification Law (RTL), Sen. Cynthia A. Villar extolled that the implementing agencies of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) continue to deliver their commitment to insure the availability of affordable and quality rice to consumers.

Villar, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, also said this resulted to an increase in the productivity and incomes of rice farmers amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The RTL or Republic Act (RA) No. 11203, signed in 2019, liberalized rice imports and imposed a tariff of 35% imports from Southeast Asian.

Villar said the law also provides capital for RCEF amounting to P10 billion annually for the next six years.

The P10-billion RCEF should be allocated and fisbursed as follows: 1. The Mechanization Program - P5B- through PhilMech to promote the use of appropriate production and postproduction mechanization technologies through farmer cooperatives, associations (FCAs) and in their absence the LGU.

2. Rice seed development, propagation, and promotion- P3B- through PhilRice to increase the adoption of high quality certified inbred seeds and integrated crop management through the promoting and distributing certified seeds of inbred rice varieties, mobilizing and strengthening local seed production, supporting variety development.

3. Credit assistance, P1B to be equally managed by the Landbank of the Philippines (LBP) and the D Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) at P500 million annually for the next six years to rice farmers registered in the RSBSA and to cooperatives.

4. Rice extension services, P1B with Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), PhilMech, PhilRIce and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

Villar said RCEF covers the 42 inbred rice-producing provinces across the country, covering 656 municipalities.

The 2020 palay harvest is 19.4 MMT or 3.3% more than the 18.81-MMT output in 2019, and surpasses the previous high of 19.27 MMT in 2017. This is a rice adequacy level of 90 percent; average harvest per hectare is 4.09MT of palay.

The senator said the yield recorded for the period October-December 2019 was 4.1 metric tons per hectare, vs. the 3.9 metric tons per hectare yield recorded for the period October-December 2018.

According to PhilRice, under the RCEF, P3 billion is set aside yearly for certified inbred seeds at 40 kg per hectare and distributed free.

In 2020, 674,400 farmers have received 1.68 million bags of free certified inbred rice seeds. These were planted to 843,000 hectares in 948 RCEF municipalities nationwide, or 98.5 percent of the targeted 962 towns for seed distribution.

For March, 2021, DA-PhilRice reported that it has already achieved 100% seed deliveries for the dry season. The RCEF-Seed program has distributed almost 1.7 M bags of high-quality inbred rice seeds to 957 municipalities from the target 55 provinces all over the country.

More than half a million farmers-beneficiaries received 20kgs/ bag, in coordination with LGU partners, to cover 789,267 hectares.

Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) distributed P5-billion worth of farm machinery and equipment (FME) to qualified farmers' cooperatives and associations (FCAs).

To date, the senator said 15,918 units of various FME were already procured out of the targeted 23,378 units. These were delivered and distributed to 3,804 FCAs, thus benefitting at least 1.35 million farmer-members.

PhilMech studies show that mechanizing rice production operations, from land preparation to harvest, can reduce the production cost of palay by P2 to P3 per kilogram (kg).

For 2021, the target intervention shall be for drying and milling facilities to complete the value chain control and lessen post-harvest losses and depressed farm gate price.

Currently, the cost of producing palay in the Philippines is at P12.72 per kilo, while it is P6.22 in Vietnam and P8.86 in Thailand, according to studies by DA's Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice).

For loans, a total of P1.584 billion was lent to hundreds of FCAs in RCEF program areas, being served by Land Bank of the Philippines (at P968 million) and the Development Bank of the Philippines (P616 million).

The DA-Agricultural Training institute (ATI), PhilMech and PhilRice receive a yearly allocation of P100 million each from RCEF for training and extension of farmers, technicians and other rice industry stakeholders. TESDA has a yearly budget for extension amounting to P700M.

To enhance capacities of rice farmers to become competitive in rice production, under the RCEF the agencies have obligated P16.2 billion and disbursed over P7.1 B from the P20-billion allocation from 2019 to 2020.

The 2021 RCEF allocation has been released by the Department of Budget and Management and is ready for implementation.

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