From: The Philippine Star, by: By Rudy Fernandez
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LOS BAÑOS , Philippines – The government’s crop insurance program has evolved into a strong shield protecting farmers from the impact of climate change, according to a study conducted by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA).

“Crop insurance, a risk management tool, is key to the farmers’ financial stability, enabling them to continue production despite severe weather and other challenges that impact their business,” SEARCA found.

SEARCA, headed by Director Gil Saguiguit Jr., is a research center hosted by the Philippine government at the University of the Philippines in Los Baños (UPLB).

Titled “Improving the Corn Insurance Program to Enhance Resilience to Climate Change,” the research was led by Dr. Jose Yorobe Jr. of the UPLB College of Economics and Management.

During the period 1982-2012, according to the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC), many catastrophic typhoons, floods, droughts, plant diseases and pests wreaked havoc on food crops, resulting in cumulative losses of P7 billion for corn farmers.

The SEARCA research said good agricultural practices (GAP) should be complemented with the promotion of government’s agricultural insurance program.

The study covered the country’s top three corn-producing provinces – Isabela, Pangasinan, and Bukidnon.

For the study, researchers interviewed 426 corn farmers, half of them covered by crop insurance.

Next to rice, corn is the country’s most important crop.

The study showed that about 14 million Filipinos prefer to eat white corn as their main staple, while yellow corn is mainly used for livestock feed.

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