by: Sarwell Q. Meniano

via BusinessWorld Online

CATARMAN — Officials of the Northern Samar provincial government and the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC) have signed an agreement providing insurance to 5,000 farmers and fishermen.

Northern Samar Governor Paul R. Daza said the local government is setting aside P2.4 million as premium subsidy from October to December this year.

“Weather in Northern Samar has not been friendly. There was tremendous rainfall in the province. For poor farmers, a single calamity is a catastrophic loss,” Mr. Daza said in a press briefing after signing the memorandum of agreement.

The provincial government has identified agricultural and fishery activities that will be covered by the agreement.

PCIC President Jovy C. Bernabe said Northern Samar is the fifth province in the country to extend comprehensive insurance to all farming and fishing livelihood. Other provinces are Cebu, Capiz, Negros Occidental, and Isabela.

“This is not really fully free but is almost 90% subsidized both by Northern Samar and PCIC. This will make farmers happy because they can restart their livelihood after losses caused by calamities,” Mr. Bernabe said.

He added that the PCIC targets to triple its client base in three years. Only 10% of farmers nationwide currently have crop insurance.

Gil A. Adora, assistant national director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, said insurance will help rehabilitate damaged fish pens, fish cages and fishing vessels.

Located in the Eastern Visayas region, Northern Samar is composed largely of low and extremely rugged hills and small lowland areas.

It also has small and discontinuous areas along the coasts and its rivers are usually accompanied by alluvial plains and valleys. The province is endowed with relatively rich and fertile soil that most crops can grow on it.

PCIC is an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture. The PCIC’s principal mandate is to provide insurance protection to farmers against losses arising from natural calamities, plant diseases and pest infestations of their palay and corn crops as well as other crops.

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