An agriculture insurance system, currently being studied by lawmakers, would be mandated to carry out direct and indirect reinsurance and be harmonised with an agriculture guarantee fund, according to Representative Arthur C. Yap who has been pushing for a crop insurance Bill to be enacted.
This Bill mandates the government-owned Philippine Crop Insurance Corp (PCIC) and encourages private companies to offer index-based insurance. It will also expand the insurance coverage of PCIC to high-value crops, livestock, aquaculture and fishery products, agroforestry crops and forest plantations, said Mr Yap who is a former Agriculture Secretary.
He added that in a pilot project, thousands of farmers in Mindanao are currently enrolled in Wibi (Weather Index-Based Insurance) which is an integrated financing package with assessments based on scientific data, such as rainfall, wind speed and humidity.
The Wibi Mindanao pilot project, started in 2015, will end this December. Since the launch of Wibi, more than 2,743 hectares of farmland had been insured in the Northern Mindanao and Davao Region. Payouts under the insurance programme depend on the rainfall index measured in the particular area. The Wibi is seen as beneficial to PCIC owing to its lower administrative cost because field verification is not required. At the same time, farmers need not file cumbersome documents as weather stations or automatic rain-gauging reading data will serve as the basis for damage assessment.
Although the Wibi Mindanao pilot project is ending, the initiatives and innovations introduced in it will, hopefully, be sustained through the Bill which Mr Yap is championing. He said that the Bill, when enacted, will institutionalise Wibi's mechanisms.
In the Philippines, an average of 20 typhoons occur annually, coupled with flooding.