DA forms GIUs to help identify beneficiaries of crop insurance

By Mary Grace C. Padin

The Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) said on Wednesday it has partnered with the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC) to form geographic insurance units (GIUs), which will serve as basis for farmers’ insurance coverage.

BSWM, an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture (DA), said the GIU will identify PCIC’s basis in grouping agricultural lands according to land limitation and climate hazards as caused by drought and excessive rainfall.

It will be applied to the PCIC’s Weather Index Based Crop Insurance, which helps farmers and fishermen through the provision of insurance package to farmers in vulnerable areas affected by natural calamities and disasters.

According to the BSWM, at least P3.9 million will be allotted for the project’s six-month implementation in two pilot sites—Peñablanca, Cagayan, and Tuguegarao.

The program is expected to benefit at least 180 identified farmer-beneficiaries.

“BSWM appreciates the initiative of the PCIC for working hand in hand with us and considering the value of soils as a critical factor in risk management and its role as natural capital for investment,” BSWM Director Silvino Tejada said in a statement.

Through the GIUs, Tejada said every farm can be assessed accordingly based on its potentials and limitations through mapping schemes provided by the BSWM.

The project will focus on soil characterization in relation to drainage, texture and slope. It will also consider environmental factors, such as elevation and occurrence of pests and diseases. Risks related to salt, drought and flood will also be identified.

GIUs are also seen to harmonize all efforts in climate-change adaptation as it groups agricultural lands with similar conditions.

“Farmers will be given site-specific and appropriate interventions in terms of trainings, extension services and production inputs, such as drought or flood-tolerant seeds that they can use to enhance crop production,” the BSWM said.

Meanwhile, PCIC insurance specialist Glaicel Alvarez said 150 farmers have already benefited from the company’s Weather Index Based Crop Insurance from May 2011 to December 2015.

Alvarez also said approved claims under the program amounted to P202,500 for rice farmers and P378,773.50 for corn farmers in Region 2.

PCIC provides insurance protection to the country’s agricultural producers, particularly the subsistence farmers, against loss of their crops and noncrop agricultural assets on account of natural calamities, pests and diseases, and other environmental risks.


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