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Small-farmer insurance bill filed in Senate

A BILL seeking to expand the coverage of the crop insurance program to include small farmers has been filed at the Senate.

The Philippines’ “vulnerability to disasters and (their) disastrous effect on agricultural productivity calls for a more permanent and long-term solution that will ensure that the agricultural sector, especially small farmers, are protected and given support to sustain their production,” Senator Joseph Victor G. Ejercito, author of Senate bill No. 390, said in a statement Monday.

The measure would require the DA to develop a comprehensive insurance scheme for small farmers in coordination with the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC) and the Insurance Commission (IC).

The bill calls for subsidized premiums for farmers tilling five hectares or less, Mr. Ejercito noted.

As of the afternoon of Oct. 30, the Department of Agriculture (DA) estimated agricultural damage caused by Severe Tropical Storm Paeng (international name: Nalgae) at P285.28 million affecting 8,608 farmers and fisherfolk.

Last month, Super Typhoo Karding (international name: Noru) inflicted P3.12 billion worth of crop damage, according to the DA.

“The government has provided subsidies to support the crop insurance program and has been shouldering shares of insurance premiums of insured farmers,” Mr. Ejercito said.

“However, this has not resulted in better outcomes in terms of alleviating the financial burden of farmers,” he added. — John Victor D. Ordonez