As an adaptation to climate change that causes damages to crops and properties of poor farmers, a $1 million crop insurance project dubbed as the “Scaling-up Risk Transfer Mechanisms for Climate Vulnerable Agriculture-based Communities in Mindanao” was launched by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and its implementing partner Department of Agriculture-Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC), on November 27, 2014 at the Astoria Plaza, Ortigas, Pasig City. Leading the launch are UNDP Country Director Maurice Dewulf , DA Undersecretary for Special Concerns Bernadette Fatima Romulo-Puyat and PCIC President Jovy C. Bernabe.

This multi-stakeholder endeavor taps various agencies as its partner-collaborators such as the Climate Change Commission, Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), PAGASA, PhiVolcs, NAMRIA, Agricultural Training Institute, and Bureau of Soils, Agricultural Credit Policy Council, Agricultural Guarantee Fund Pool, Philippine Insurance Commission, and the Philippine Commission on Women. These institutions will participate in the project inception workshop. As the project progresses, the local government units and other private institutions and enterprises will also be involved.

In strengthening farmers and their livelihoods against a changing climate, the project has the following components:  (1)Policy Advocacy and Knowledge- regulatory and fiscal incentive structures adjusted to stimulate private sector engagement in climate risk reduction and transfer  for agriculture-based rural households; (2) Climate Risk Financing and Transfer- Weather Index-based Integrated Financial Package customized  and applied to strengthen climate resilience in the agriculture sector in Mindanao;(3) Community-based Adaptation Learning and Measures- farmers and producers organizations and other local stakeholders able to analyze climate risk and develop and implement adaptation practices to enhance productivity in agriculture and off-farm enterprises in support of a sustainable, diversified and market-driven economic base.

The major component of the project is the development of the Weather Index Based Insurance (WIBI). This insurance is linked to an index such as rainfall. Unlike the losses under the traditional crop insurance scheme, the insurer does not need to visit farmer’s field.  The payout is based on the amount of rainfall, if it is below or above the set thresholds. Thus, this innovative insurance product, WIBI, has the advantages of fast settlement and lower administrative cost.

The WIBI project will be undertaken in the agricultural communities, farming households in areas previously devastated by typhoons Pablo and Sendong in Regions 10 and 11 in Mindanao. The program will run for three years, from 2014 to 2017. Overall, the efforts of these partner-collaborators would contribute to the Department of Agriculture’s program of food security and improvement of the livelihood of farmers.