From: Businessworld Online, by: Anton Joshua M. Santos
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THE PHILIPPINE Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC) said it launched a weather-based crop insurance program in Western Visayas promising payouts for extreme rainfall conditions.

The Department of Agriculture in Region 6 said in a statement yesterday that the PCIC — an attached agency — has implemented the Weather Index-Based Crop Insurance (WIBCI) in Dumangas, Iloilo.

Acting PCIC Senior Vice-President and Project Manager Norman R. Cajucom noted that the insurance offering was launched in the Western Visayas on May 29, with some 75 farmers selected for the pilot project.

The WIBCI entitles farmers to payments if the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical & Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) rules that rainfall in a given area exceeds or falls under average levels to a certain degree.

“For each stage of planting, there is a water requirement,” Mr. Cajucom said in a separate phone interview, adding that upon planting, farmers are covered for the 120-day crop season, but need to register anew for the following crop season.

Farmers will pay a 5% premium tied to the value per hectare of farmland.

He added that in the event of disaster, farmers are paid in proportion to expenses incurred at a particular stage of cultivation, and that damage incurred from typhoons will be based on volume of rainfall and not wind speed.

The program will be tied to PAGASA’s Automatic Weather Station data, which will be made available to farmers as well as the PCIC.

Pilot tests of the program, which PCIC Regional Manager Charlito O. Brilleta said does not cover damage from pests and disease as well as floodwaters from other places, were launched last month in Tuguegarao and Peñablanca in Cagayan.

Mr. Cajucom noted that they are currently in the implementation stage of the insurance package that was developed in 2012 and will be expanded in 2015.

Dumangas farmers plant mainly rice, while the Tuguegarao and Peñablanca sites had a mix of rice and corn.

The project’s other implementing offices are the National Irrigation Administration; Philippine Rice Research Institute; the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Science and Technology departments; the World Bank — which established the project — and the Climate Change Commission, which is attached to the Office of the President.

The WIBCI is part of Subcomponent 2.3 of the Philippines Climate Change Adaptation Project, which the Web site of the DENR notes was created “to develop and pilot-test adaptive strategies that will promote the climate-resiliency of agriculture and natural resources management.”

The DENR added that it the project is supported by a state grant.

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