Press Release
May 27, 2009

Citing threats of climate change, pests and diseases

Senator Edgardo J. Angara today emphasized the need for increased crop insurance in the country citing the threats of erratic weather conditions in the country and looming outbreak of pests and diseases, as he keynoted the 28th Anniversary program of the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation.

"In modern agriculture, Crop Insurance is treated and given equal importance as factors on production inputs. It is managed and delivered as an effective risk management tool. As such, Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) exists to give the widest possible coverage for stakeholders in agriculture, including fisheries," said Angara who chairs the Senate Committee on Finance.

The senator, who is a former Department of Agriculture secretary from 1999-2001, however lamented the decline in provision of crop insurance which he said is due to the steep contraction in the number of the self-financed farmer-participants, as well as the decrease in the directed rural credit discarded by the Cabinet in 1992.

High Overhead Cost and the Question of Sustainability serve to aggravate this, he added.

According to a study by the Philippine Institute of Development Studies on crop insurance in 2005, Philippine crop insurance - during at its peak in 1995 - was availed of by 336,000 rice and corn farmers. The same study showed that from 1981 to 2000, PCIC was only able to provide insurance for a cumulative total of 2.8M farmers. The figure, 6.5%, seems relatively small. The country has an estimated 5.2M smallholder farmers.

The former Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food chair, thus, highlighted four issues which push the need for crop insurance in the country.

Looming threats of climate change and erratic weather conditions.

  • Crop Insurance is vital to address this, he said;

  • Farming is becoming increasingly commercial. Contracting loans and engaging in contractual arrangements is now commonplace. He said that crop insurance provides the mechanism that will ensure recovery of these investments.

  • Increased mobility of products and people has increased potential for the accidental introduction of exotic pests/diseases into a country. Crop Insurance stems the damage of infestation; and

  • Lastly, food safety and environmental protections are now primary concerns of consumers. And when food safety protocols fail, these losses can be mitigated by Crop Insurance.

The 28th anniversary celebration of PCIC was highlighted by the forging of Memoranda of Agreement by PCIC with three well-known private-sector groups in the country - the Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines, the Cooperative Bankers Federation of the Philippines or BANGKOOP, and the National Confederation of Cooperatives or NATCO.

Angara lauded this innovative effort by the PCIC.

"These organizations are among the most effective and credible farm-finance institutions in the country. With their large membership and clientele nationwide, they will strengthen PCIC's hand in expanding agricultural insurance coverage in the country. With their credibility among their stakeholders, they will increase the marketability of agricultural insurance in the country. It is terrific that the PCIC, aside from providing insurance products and services, will also lend training and education to them. This is the kind of human capital investment that I have always favored and pushed for," added Angara.

News Latest News Feed