Government eyes mandatory crop insurance
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - August 21, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The government is being urged to provide mandatory insurance coverage for palay and other crops to help farmers survive crop destruction.

Sen. Francis Pangilinan has filed Senate Bill 35 or the proposed Expanded Crop Insurance Act that seeks to amend existing laws which previously require crop insurance only of farmers who avail themselves of production loans.

“Our rice farmers become more heavily indebted and impoverished after every disaster. A way to save them is for them to have crop insurance,” Pangilinan said.

Under the proposed amendment to Section 4 of Presidential Decree 1467 as amended by Republic Act 8175 or the Revised Charter of the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC), participation in the insurance for palay and other crops determined to be essential for food security shall be compulsory upon all farmers.

In case farmers are financially incapable, the National Food Authority (NFA) shall secure crop insurance for them.

NFA shall also pay for the insurance premium and shall become at least a 50 percent beneficiary of the insurance proceeds or claim for all other crops.

 Within 60 days of the passage of the law, the  Department of Agriculture chief, NFA administrator and PCIC president shall form a committee with a mandate to draft the implementing rules and regulations.

Pangilinan said agriculture is among the sectors which consistently registered the highest poverty incidence since 2006.

He said farmers remain the poorest in the country despite the vastness of the sector, generating 25 percent of the country’s jobs.

Based on the Philippine Statistics Authority Family Income and Expenditure Survey and Labor Force Survey, farmers posted the highest poverty incidence in 2015 at 34.3 percent.

Last year, PCIC, the insurance arm of DA, paid P3.4  billion to farmers and fisherfolks for damages to standing crops and properties.

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