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Philippines - Microinsurance products for local farmers pushed

TO HELP farmers quickly replant damaged crops due to extreme weather conditions and, thereby, help temper food inflation, the Department of Finance’s chief economist is pushing for the immediate rollout of the Insurance Commission’s agriculture microinsurance or “MicroAgri” framework.

In an economic bulletin on Friday, Finance Undersecretary Gil S. Beltran said the rise in inflation to 1.1 percent in November from the record-low of 0.4 percent in the previous month “can be attributed to the sharp rise in vegetable prices as a result of Typhoon ‘Lando,’” that hit many parts of Luzon, including farms and plantations, last October.

“The increase in vegetable prices contributed 0.4 percent to the total inflation rate” in November, Beltran said.

Last month, the faster increases in the prices of corn, fish, meat and vegetables offset the slower rise in the prices of cheese, eggs, milk, non-alcoholic beverages and rice, the National Economic and Development Authority said on Friday.

As farmers had already been replanting crops destroyed by “Lando,” Beltran said he expected the typhoon’s adverse impact on prices to wane.

He said supporting farmers to quickly recover from natural disasters and calamities was important to temper food inflation.

“This emphasizes the need to immediately launch the MicroAgri framework and start marketing new microinsurance products for farmers. In the future, the new microinsurance product will enable farmers to undertake replanting quickly,” he said.

In October, the Insurance Commission issued MicroAgri, which “provides a clear-cut policy on agriculture insurance to encourage the private microinsurance providers to innovate and design products tailor-fitted to the needs of agricultural clients.”

With the MicroAgri framework in place, the Insurance Commission was hoping to “promote and encourage the provision of agriculture microinsurance products and services that are simple, affordable and accessible to the vast of the population dependent on agriculture.”

The Insurance Commission wants to leverage on the country’s strength in microinsurance—the Philippines is widely regarded as a model in microinsurance penetration, with 28 million of the 32 million insured Filipinos to date covered by cheap microinsurance plans.

Source – http://business.inquirer.net