ILOILO – Damage to palay production in this province due to El Niño phenomenon’s extreme heat since October 2018 already reached P1.3 billion covering 28,026.57 hectares and adversely affecting 27,245 farmers or 136,295 families, data from the Provincial Agriculture Office (PAO) showed.
PAO chief Ildefonso Toledo said damage to corn was way lower – P160,000 covering 4,502.37 hectares.
The number of corn farmers affected reached 3,735 or 18,675 families, he added.
But so far, only 256 farmers in the province have received indemnity – totaling P1,148,141 – from the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC), an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture (DA) whose principal mandate is to provide insurance protection to farmers against losses arising from natural calamities, plant diseases and pest infestations.
The 256 farmers received their indemnity on April 25 from DA secretary Emmanuel Piñol at the Western Visayas Integrated Agricultural Research Center in Barangay Hamungaya, Jaro, Iloilo City.
According to DA Region 6 executive director Remelyn Recoter, these farmers were from the municipalities of Leon, Badiangan, Cabatuan, Oton, Dueñas, and Banate.
The amount of indemnity they received varied, based on the severity of damage each suffered, said Recoter.
She also stressed that only farmers listed in the Registry System for Basic Agriculture (RSBA) prepared by municipal agriculture offices and submitted to the DA and PCIC may avail themselves of indemnity.
Before the indemnity is released, PCIC validates the “damage report” submitted by farmers, said Recoter.
“Either due to typhoon, baha, El Niño or pest, puede gid sila maka-claim indemnity basta registered sila sa RSBA,” she stressed.
Another batch of farmers would be getting indemnity from PCIC soon, revealed Recoter.
PCIC also provides protection against damage to / loss of non-crop agricultural assets including but not limited to machineries, transport facilities and other related infrastructures due to peril/s insured against.
The Philippines is vulnerable to natural disasters which cause devastation to crops and miseries to agricultural producers and lenders of agricultural credit.
Because of the marginality of most landholdings, the result of these losses is devastating to the finances of farmers.
In 1976, an Interagency Committee for the Development of Crop Insurance during the Marcos administration undertook a nine-month full-blown feasibility study on the creation of a crop insurance program.
It was concluded that the agricultural insurance system could address not only the welfare aspect of the after-loss event but also help in achieving the objective of stabilizing farm incomes and reverse the “risk-averse” nature of farmers and push them to invest more in new technologies that would help increase national productivity.
Apart from protecting farmers from financial losses, crop insurance was also considered as an instrument that can be offered as “surrogate” collateral to banks and other financial institutions to influence and encourage them to continue participating and supporting government credit programs.
The study ushered in the creation of PCIC and the operationalization of the insurance program through the issuance of Presidential Decree No. 1467 promulgated on June 11, 1978./PN