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Philippines - 2 million farmers to get free crop insurance

The Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC) will extend P65.1 billion worth of free crop insurance coverage to more than 2 million farmers and fishermen this year to help them cope with the ill effects of climate change on farm production.

During the “Usapang Sakahan” media forum organized by the Philippine Agricultural Journalists, PCIC President and CEO Jovy C. Bernabe said Congress had allocated P3.5 billion for the government’s free crop insurance program this year.

“This year is the first time that we will cover more than 2 million farmers, and the amount of insurance covered around P65 billion,” Bernabe told reporters during the media forum held in Quezon City on Tuesday.

“[The free insurance] is courtesy of the P3.5 billion given by Congress and the DBM [Department of Budget and Management] under our 2018 budget, which will be used to cover the 2 million farmers,” he added.

Bernabe said the PCIC, an attached government-owned and -controlled corporation under the Department of Agriculture, is targeting to cover some 25 percent of the country’s total number of farmers, pegged at 10 million.

The P65.01 billion worth of crop insurance to be provided by the PCIC this year is 30 percent higher than last year’s P50.032 billion, according to Bernabe.

The number of total farmers insured by year-end would be 32 percent higher than the 1.52 million farmers and fishermen registered beneficiaries in 2017, he added.

Bernabe said the value of crop insurance and number of farmers covered this year would be the “highest” in the PCIC’s history.

He also said farmers and fishermen who are registered in the government’s Registry System for Basic Sector in Agriculture will be prioritized by the PCIC for the free crop insurance coverage.

With the free crop insurance coverage, PCIC Senior Vice President Norman R. Cajucom said the agency’s penetration rate in the rice and corn sector would increase to 20 percent, from the current 17 percent.

Cajucom added that the ratio of high-value crops insured by the PCIC in relation to total hectarage planted would reach 9.6 percent by year-end, from last year’s 7 percent.

Bernabe said the PCIC received a P3.5-billion premium subsidy under the 2018 General Appropriations Act, 40 percent higher than the P2.5 billion it was given last year.

In 2017 the PCIC paid P1.9 billion worth of insurance claims to around 175,000 affected farmers, 25.83 percent higher than the P1.51 billion it paid to farmers in 2016.

Bernabe said the total number of farmers covered by the PCIC last year, pegged at 1.52 million, was 38.81 percent higher than the 1.095 million farmers it insured in 2016.

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