by: Raymond Jun R. Portillo
Agriculture insurance coverage almost doubled as of November last year amid strong typhoons visiting the country, the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC) said.
Insurance coverage reached P10.63 billion for the period January to November 2012, from P5.37 billion posted during the same period last year.
PCIC said agriculture insurance coverage is even expected to grow this year as farmers realize the importance of crop insurance amid the frequent typhoons, a PCIC senior official said.
“Farmers are increasingly becoming aware of the importance of insuring their crops as typhoons continue to destroy farms,” PCIC Senior Vice-President Norman R. Cajucom said in a telephone interview yesterday.
PCIC said in a press statement that the number of agricultural producers insured by the agency grew by 83.58% to 281,252 in the 11 months to November 2012 from 153,208 reported during the same period last year.
A total of 48.88% or 134,662 of the farmers insured are engaged in rice and corn production, while 1,111 farmers insured are involved in high value crop production.
As much as 12,947 of those insured are livestock raisers; while only 21 are engaged in fisheries.
The remaining 133,111 are composed of the term insurance package and non-crop insurance coverage of agricultural producers, farm workers, members of the agricultural fisheries council and staff of national government agencies and local government units (LGUs).
The area of farms insured also increased by 34.15% to 187,619 hectares for the 11 months ending November 2012 from 139,854 hectares reported during the same period in 2011.
According to the same statement, the reasons for the improved performance of PCIC include: the increase in the number of cooperatives and grass roots organizations that participated in the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) rice and corn production loans; and the implementation of compulsory insurance coverage for farmers participating in the LBP-Sikat Saka and the Department of Agriculture — National Irrigation Administration Third Cropping Rice Program.
The PCIC also attributed its improved performance to the following: the fresh participation of the National Agribusiness Corp. in the corn insurance program in Region I; the continued PCIC engagement with LGUs; and the continued engagement of farmers’ cooperatives and rural banks.
For the period of January to November 2012, the total value that the PCIC paid out to farmers fell by 28.71% to P195.64 million from P274.43 million reported during the same period last year.
Consequently, the number of farmers paid by the PCIC decreased by 25.83% to 27,269 farmers as of November 2012 from 36,767 farmers during the same 11-month period in 2011.
PCIC’s underwriting profit increased by more than five times to P303.94 million for the 11 month ending November 2012 from P49 million during the same period last year.
“For 2013, the DA has given us P183.771 million for premium subsidy insurance for 98,828 palay and corn farmers while the Department of Agrarian Reform contributed P1 billion for 224,036 Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries,” Mr. Cajucom said.
With these additional budgets, he said PCIC is expecting the number of insured farmers will continue to grow in 2013.
Further, Mr. Cajucom also mentioned that they are expecting House Bill 2825 to be passed within this year which, when signed into law, will increase PCIC’s authorized capital stock from P2 billion to P10 billion.
“When this bill is passed, we will be able to increase the value of agricultural insurance coverage and the number of agricultural producers insured for up to five times within two to three years,” Mr. Cajucom said.
The PCIC is already conducting system upgrades as well as training its employees in preparation for the expansion of its operations, said Mr. Cajucom. He also mentioned plans to set up satellite offices in order to reach more farmers.
“We will also intensify our information drives in order to increase our farmers’ awareness,” Mr. Cajucom said, emphasizing that PCIC does not only cover rice and corn farmers but as well as high value crops, livestock, agriculture infrastructures, fisheries structures, farm equipment including tractors and even forestry farms.
“PCIC is even offering a life insurance for farmers since crops are not the only ones affected by typhoons and calamities,” Mr. Cajucom said.