Nueva Ecija rice specialists and farmer-leaders are taught how to use of a drum seeder, a piece of gender-friendly farm equipment that facilitates direct seeding. (PNA photo)

Various rice farming stakeholders underwent various training programs in Nueva Ecija to make them more competitive as rice specialists, extension workers, and farmer-leaders.

The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) and the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) are leading this move to prepare the rice farming stakeholders for the implementation of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) program of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in their areas.

The ultimate beneficiary of this move are the farmers who will be trained on how to cope up with the presence of cheaper imported rice in the local market bared Dr. Glenn Ilar, PhilRice training coordinator.

“The training for farmer-leaders and extension workers of Luzon amplifies the program’s extension services,” he added, “Farmer-leaders and extension workers are now updated on farm technologies and techniques, especially on the use and production of quality seeds and farm machines, which they will impart to the farmers by conducting Farmers Field School.”

Attendees of the rice specialist training course held from April 29 to Oct. 18 were close to 30 personnel from the Agricultural Training Institute, regional field offices of the DA, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, and PhilRice.

Aside from rice specialists, extension workers, and farmer-leaders, PhilRice also trained 85 regional and provincial RCEF coordinators who are tasked to help out in the RCEF seed distribution effort.

“Farmer-trainees shared rice production-related technologies such as pest and nutrient management to their fellow farmers and that they are also tapped to teach young farmers,” Ilar pointed out.

Other training beneficiaries are rebel returnees, military personnel, retirees, and out-of-school-youth on rice and rice-based production, Ilar pointed out. (Jojo Mangahis)