Press Release
October 22, 2015

Villar: Lando's P5.9 billion damage to agriculture
stresses need for crops to be insured

Sen. Cynthia Villar today said the P5.9 billion damage to agriculture brought by Typhoon Lando underscores the need to improve government's program to provide insurance protection to farmers.

Villar, chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, noted that in the proposed 2016 budget of the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) , only 694,727 subsistence farmers and fisherfolks will be covered by crop insurance services.

"Although more farmers will be covered this year because of the increase in PCIC's budget, the fact remains that more farmers will be exposed to the risk of losing their crops and farm animals due to natural disasters," Villar said.

"With an average of 20 typhoons entering the country in a year, our farmers and fisherfolks are always the big losers. This is one of the reasons why poverty incidence is highest in this sector, where two-thirds of our population belong," she added.

The Nacionalista Party senator also said she have looked closely on the status of the Philippine crop insurance system and will be drafting a bill to expand the scope and coverage of crop insurance. Under the PCIC budget, P1.6 billion will be appropriated for the insurance premiums of subsistence farmers and fisherfolks to cover crop, livestock, fisheries or non-crop agricultural asset as protection against losses due to natural calamities and pest and diseases.

The PCIC is tasked to ensure that the beneficiaries identified are registered under the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture, with priority given to those in localities declared as critical geo-hazard areas or no build zones identified by the Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau.

"After yet another devastating typhoon, we should not only work to restore normalcy; we should do more. It is high time we put in place reforms that will prevent our farmers from losing their source of livelihood everytime a typhoon strikes," Villar said.

The lady senator also said adaptive measures and strategies to prevent disasters from eroding our food security gains should be developed apart from the climate-resilient varieties of rice, corn and other crops as well as pioneering procedures and advanced technologies being developed and used today.

"Strengthening agricultural insurance as a risk-mitigating device will definitely complement other preventive measures," she added.

The Department of Agriculture estimated that Typhoon Lando's damage on the agriculture sector has already reached P5.9 billion. This covers about 277,060 hectares of rich agricultural lands in the Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon and Cordillera regions.

Initial field validation shows the regions have already incurred a production loss of 386,000 metric tons. Of the total, palay accounts for the largest production loss at about 360,000 metric tons amounting to P5.3 billion.

Corn and high value crops recorded production losses at 5,600 metric tons and 21, 800 metric tons, respectively. These figures amount to P84.5 million losses for corn and P528.9 million losses for high value crops. On the other hand, damage on livestock is estimated at P517,000.

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