TACLOBAN CITY – The Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) is optimistic of attaining P25 billion value of agricultural insurance by the end of this year, given the new programs and partnership with the private sector.

PCIC president Jovy Bernabe claimed they are on track of hitting the 2013 target as more farmers in the country realized the importance of farm insurance due to impacts of natural calamities and pest infestations.

This year’s targets a coverage of about 118 percent, which is relatively higher than last year’s P11.47 billion of agricultural insurance.

“We’re doubling our effort through partnership with rural banks and marketing,” Bernabe told Leyte Samar Daily Express in an interview.

For the first seven months of this year, the total value of agricultural insurance was P12.414 billion from P11.38 billion in 2012. The number of insured farmers also increased to 311,854 as of July from 309,000 last year.

“By the end of 2013, we are confident that 450,000 farmers will be covered by agricultural insurance,”Bernabe said.

Although rice farming accounts the highest component, the PCIC is also eyeing the contribution of new products to accelerate growth – fisheries and coconut.

Among the agency’s plan to attain goals are to increase insurance coverage for all insurance lines, utilize government insurance premium subsidy, strengthen PCIC’s insurance capacity, develop innovative index-based insurance products, and establish partnership with private sector.

“There is a continuing partnership with some rural banks. We just want to recognize formally the banks that have been helping us. We want forge ties will all rural banks considering their direct access with farmers.
Early this week, the PCIC entered into a memorandum of agreement with the Rural Bank of Dulag, Inc.

Bernabe said they are also lobbying for the passage of a proposed bill in Congress that would increase the capitalization of PCIC from P1 billion to P2 billion.

The legislative measure will allow PCIC to become reinsurers of private firm providing crop insurance, Bernabe said. (SARWELL Q.MENIANO)