Some 110,000 farmers who lost their crops to Typhoon “Lando” can claim a total of P732 million in indemnity from the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC).

In a briefing yesterday, PCIC President Jovy C. Bernabe said that based on the particulars of the covered farmers, payouts range from P6,700 to P20,000 per claimant.

Bernabe said the insured farmers entitled to claims represented a total of 132,000 hectares of farms spread throughout the path of Lando, including the province of Nueva Ecija, which suffered the most damage.

“We have issued strict instructions to PCIC staff to assist affected farmers and speed up processing of damage claims in less than the 20-day regulation period,” Bernabe said. Based on a rapid assessment conducted by the PCIC, payout so far covers damaged crops including corn, high-value crops like vegetables and rice—the latter accounting for 98 percent of total.

P613M for rice planters

PCIC data show that close to 93,000 of the farmer-claimants were rice growers, for whom a total of P613 million has been allocated.

Those who were growing high-value crops accounted for P116 million in payout while corn farmers accounted for P2 million.

Bernabe said most of the farmers entitled to indemnity were listed in the government’s Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA).

Started in 2012, the RSBSA is basically a roster of farmers, farm workers and fishers as well as geographical coordinates of agricultural and fishery workers households.

The database is an interagency effort among the Department of Budget and Management, National Statistics Office, Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Agrarian Reform, Department of the Interior and Local Government, and National Anti-Poverty Commission.

Bernabe said crop insurance has been identified as one of the key climate change-adaptation measures by the DA, which supervises the PCIC.

“Toward this end, the PCIC has embarked on a program to broaden the availability of its insurance products,” he said.

Budget up 10 times

“From just about 100,000 covered farmers—including those not listed in the RSBSA—some six years ago, the PCIC has expanded the number of insured farmers to 917,814 by end of last year, and plans to increase further its coverage to breach 1,000,000 mark this year.”

Similarly, the PCIC’s annual budget has risen 10 times from P113 million six years ago to P1.3 billion this year.

Bernabe said an effective insurance program marked by quick indemnity payments allow the insured farmers to recoup a significant portion of the investments lost due to regular and extreme weather disturbances, which in turn allow them to immediately rehabilitate their farms.

Under the present scheme, a farmer whose crop is insured can recover a maximum of P20,000 per hectare in case of a total loss.

Bernabe admitted that the amount is just half of the average cost per hectare that a farmer incurs during a cropping season.

“If we try to let an insured farmer recover the full cost, we can cover only half as many farmers with our present resources,” he said. “It’s better for now to pay out less but cover more farmers.”