Another province has joined the growing list of local government units (LGUs) that have partnered with the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC) to shield its constituent farmers and fishers from risks associated with farming and fishing.

The provincial government of Northern Samar recently sealed an agreement with PCIC that provides insurance to around 5,000 of its farmers and fishers. It has set aside some P2.4 Million for the farm insurance program, effective from October to December this year.

PCIC president,  lawyer Jovy C. Bernabe, said the agreement makes Northern Samar the fifth province  to embark on enrolling  en masse its pool of farmers and fishers.   Those that have prior agreements with PCIC are Capiz, Cebu, Negros Occidental and Isabela.

Northern Samar Governor Paul Daza said weather in his province, which recently was marked by heavy rainfall,   has not been friendly to farmers and fishers alike.   The development has rendered farmers and fishers very vulnerable, he stressed.     A single calamity causes catastrophic loss to the farmers and fishers, he stressed.

The insurance program will enable the farmers and fishers to restart their farming and fishing ventures immediately after a catastrophe.   In the fishing sector,   the insurance will ensure immediate rehabilitation of fish pens and cages and fishing vessels.

The PCIC covers risks against natural calamities, plant diseases and pest infestations.

The agreement between PCIC and Northern Samar shoulders by up to 90% the required insurance premium.    The farmers and fishers shoulder only up to 10% of the premium cost.

PCIC has adopted the strategy of partnering with LGUs to expand coverage of farmers and fishers in the country.   Over the next three years, Atty. Bernabe said,    his agency plans to increase up to three times its client base.  Currently, the PCIC covers only about 10% of the farmers nationwide.

An attached agency of the Department of Agriculture, PCIC is the sole agricultural insurance provider in the country.