Home Economy DBM Allocates P455.58 Million to Enhance Rice Production in the Philippines

DBM Allocates P455.58 Million to Enhance Rice Production in the Philippines

MANILA — The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released a substantial amount of approximately PHP455.58 million to support the operational needs of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Program (RCEP) for the initial quarter of 2024. This financial provision aims to bolster the productivity and competitiveness of the nation's rice sector.

According to Philippines News Agency, the allocation was approved on January 29 by Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman, who signed off on the Notices of Cash Allocation (NCAs) totaling PHP431.79 million to be distributed among the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), the LandBank of the Philippines, and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP). These funds are designated for various components and programs under the RCEP, with PhilRice receiving PHP178.141 million, LandBank getting PHP133.648 million, and DBP allocated PHP120 million.

In addition to the PHP431.79 million earmarked for these three agencies, an additional NCA worth PHP23.79 million was approved on January 26 to fulfill the DA's operational cash requirements for the same period. Out of this, PHP10.972 million was released to the DA-Agricultural Training Institute (DA-ATI) and PHP12.823 million to the DA - Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (DA-PhilMech).

Secretary Pangandaman emphasized the administration's commitment to enhancing local agricultural production to achieve the goal of food security under the Marcos administration. The Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), as this initiative is known, is designed to improve the income and efficiency of local rice farmers through the provision of farm machinery and equipment, rice seed development, propagation, and promotion, expanded rice credit assistance, and rice extension services.

The funding mechanism for the RCEF is established under Republic Act (RA) 11203, which sets aside an annual appropriation of PHP10 billion for six years post-law approval. These funds are to be directly disbursed to the implementing agencies based on the rice industry roadmap's objectives and plans. RA 11203 also specifies the allocation of the fund: 50 percent for rice farm equipment grants, 30 percent for inbred rice seed development, 10 percent for credit facilities with favorable terms for rice farmers and cooperatives, and the remaining 10 percent for extension services by various agencies including PhilMech, PhilRice, ATI, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority to enhance rice farming skills nationwide.