PCIC REACHING OUT TO SMALL FARMERS
The Weekly Kapihan on November 14, 2015 at NVC Carmen Hotel had guests from Philippine Insurance Corporation (PCIC) and Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA). From PCIC are Charlito Brillieta, Reg’1. Director, Region 6, Ronilo Calar, Prov’1 Coordinator, PCIC, and Ms. Salome David, Asst. Prov’1 Agriculturist.
Dir. Brillieta in a power point presentation discussed the mandate of PCIC to support the government food production program by providing crops insurance coverage against force majeure events such as typhoons, floods and pest/diseases outbreak. The legal basis is PD 467 and RA 8175 approved on December 29, 1995.
PCIC has a comprehensive insurance coverage of crops (rice, corn, high value crops like abaca, mango), poultry, large cattle, goats, swine, fisheries and other aquaculture projects. An important feature is extending coverage to composite buildings, farm machineries and equipment and pump boats. The PCIC caters to small farmers cultivating less than 7 hectars who may either be beneficiaries of Sikat Saka under Land Bank of the Philippines, ARB-DAR or self-financed. Standard premium payment for self enhanced rice farmers is 5.94 percent of total production cost.
Fortunately, insurance premium payment for farmers in Aklan this year under the Registry for Basic System in Agriculture (RBSA) in the amount of 16 million pesos has been approved thereby benefitting 3,947 farmers said Dir. Brillieta.
“Recently, we paid 1.7 million pesos for 420.0 ha. rice farms damaged by drought in Balete. Abaca farmers in Libacao who suffered from Typhoon Yolanda were given 3.0 million pesos for crop damages,” Brillieta reported
Mr. Calar said that prospective farmer applicants must contact their Municipal Agricultural Officers (MAO’s) for assistance. Necessarily they must be members of Irrigators’ Association and applying package of technology (POT) recommended by DA. We have increased our Staff to four considering the need to promote the best interest of farmers and fisher folks.
Our Production Technologists (PT’s) and Farm Technicians (FT’s) are deputized as Insurance Underwriters. PCIC has given 3 million pesos facility to Office of Provincial Agriculturist for crop insurance, said Ms. David.
The rationale behind the creation of PCIC is very laudable considering the frequent disasters associated with climate change. An average of 22 typhoons visit the Philippines each year. Not to be taken lightly are the El Nino and La Nina phenomenons. Dir. Brillieta averred that the budget for Western Visayas under RBSA is 139 million pesos as subsidy to farmers until 2016. Yet only a small fraction is actually utilized due to moderate El Nino that hit the first half of this year. For instance Aklan rice hybrid target of 1,602 has. resulted to only 300 has. planted.
Dr. Allen S. Quimpo, Director Institute of Public Policy Studies, NVC expressed regret over the governments’ dole out mentality. He believes that whether big or small, farmers must be responsible and accountable to pay whatever expenses incurred in the pursuit of his business.
Asst. Prov’1 Agriculturist David mentioned that the current tourism infra development (KIA runway expansion and Kalibo Circumferential Road) has largely reduced the irrigated rice area by 1,000 has. It should be recalled that Aklan has a total irrigated area of 6, 712 has. out of a total 17,120 has. devoted for agriculture. Aggravating this condition is unbridled land conversion from agricultural to residential, commer
cial and industrial uses.
Presently, Sikat Saka program extends production loan to rice farmers at maximum of 42,000 pesos/ha. for hybrid and 37,000 pesos for inbred. Even if insurance cover is free, the actual amount to be indemnified by PCIC depends on whether the calamity occurred during vegetative stage (where the crop could somehow recover), reproductive and ripening see page 3
(where damage could be 50-100 percent). The post production losses such as seed germination and discoloration which vary from 9-26 percent is not included. The loan is secured by collateral and could be foreclosed in case of default. Altogether this calculated risk is not for small farmers. Here a single misstep can cause hunger and poverty not only to the farmer himself but his entire family. Indeed this is a dilemma faced by many farmers. The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data show that two- thirds of the farmers and fisher folks are living below the poverty threshold./MP