Number of govt-insured food producers declines

- By Jasper Emmanuel Y. Arcalas

THE number of farmers and fishermen insured by stateowned Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC) last year declined by 1.78 percent to 3.09 million from 3.146 million insured in 2019, the agency’s latest data showed.

PCIC President Jovy C. Bernabe told the Businessmi­rror that the decrease in the number of farmers and fishermen insured last year was caused by the movement restrictio­ns imposed by the government as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bernabe added that PCIC employees weren’t able to reach out to farmers for the duration of the imposition of an enhanced community quarantine nationwide from March to June.

“Our employees had a hard time accessing areas due to the restricted movement amid the pandemic,” Bernabe told the Businessmi­rror. “But our people still tried their best in the last semester; that’s why we were able to catch up.”

Nonetheles­s, the PCIC, a government-owned and controlled corp. (GOCC) attached to the Department of Agricultur­e, was able to exceed its target number of Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agricultur­e (Rbsa)listed subsistenc­e farmers covered or insured last year.

The PCIC said 76 percent or about 2.348 million farmers and fishermen insured in 2020 were provided free insurance under the “Agricultur­al Insurance for Farmers and Fishermen under the RSBSA” program. The number of insured farmers under the program was 24 percent higher than its target of 1.891 million last year, according to the PCIC.

“Farmers and fishermen listed in the RSBSA who are actively engaged in production may avail themselves of insurance coverage—free of charge—for their standing crops, poultry and livestock and non-crop assets used in their farming and fishing operations,” the PCIC said in a recent statement.

Of the 3.09 million farmers and fishermen insured last year by PCIC, about 1.28 million were rice farmers, nearly 426,000 were corn farmers and 285,000 were high-value crops farmers.

The PCIC added that more than 370,000 livestock and poultry farmers were insured and more than 47,000 fishermen were covered by the GOCC’S programs.

The insurance provided last year covered about 1.4 million hectares of rice farms, nearly 476 thousand hectares of corn farms, about 320 thousand hectares planted to highvalue crops and 1.3 million heads of poultry and livestock.

The PCIC added that it was able to indemnify some 594,300 farmers and fishers over P3.5 billion for losses “due to typhoons, wind and flooding, pests and plant diseases, livestock deaths and farmer and fishermen accidents and deaths.”

“Fully aware of the clients’ immediate need for relief in the face of complete loss or partial destructio­n of crops and animals, the PCIC has set a 20-day period for adjustment, validation and processing of claims,” it said.

The agency said that it has fulfilled this last year in 86.73 percent of the total claims.

“The cases that were not able to comply involved [the] lack of complete documentat­ion and are currently being reviewed,” it added.

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