Spare agri sector from impact of El Nino — solon

April 27, 2023 Camille P. Balagtas 227 views

SENATE Majority Leader Joel Villanueva wants solutions on agricultural insurance woes of farmers to be included in the government’s plan to mitigate the impacts of El Nino.

Villanueva filed a Senate resolution seeking to look into the state of the government’s agricultural insurance program, considering the impact of unfortunate natural occurrences on agriculture and put in place sufficient measures to protect Filipino farmers and fisherfolk.

He said that 22.2 percent or 10.5 million employed Filipinos depend on agriculture as a source of income according to the Philippine Statistics Authority in its Labor Force Survey last January 2023.

“Almost one-fourth of our labor force are in the agriculture sector and if we don’t take the necessary measures to protect it, we will see a severe decline in employment which will in turn lead to low agricultural production, endangering the livelihood of millions of Filipinos in the sector and also our country’s food security” Villanueva said.

Villanueva said that the low availment of agricultural insurance for farmers is alarming given that the country needs to be prepared for the impacts of natural extreme events, disasters and climate change.

“Our agriculture insurance program needs to be future-ready and easily accessible for the benefit of our farmers and fisherfolk,” he added.

The Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) provides insurance under seven (7) agricultural insurance lines: rice crop, corn crop, high-value crops, livestock, fisheries & aquaculture, non-crop agricultural assets and credit and life-term insurance.

In 2020, the PCIC was able to insure a total of 3,090,251 farmers and fisherfolk. The amount of protection assured was P 94.591 billion and the premium generated was P5.086 billion,” the resolution said.

According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), while La Niña has officially ended, the country needs to brace and prepare for El Niño which is expected to be declared by May.