GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 8 Oct) – The Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) has released a total of P115.887 million in crop insurance grants in the first three quarters of the year to farmers and fisher folk in parts of Region 12.
Rose Gabulan, PCIC Region 12’s marketing division head, said such grants were part of the region’s allotment this year under its flagship free crop insurance program for poor and marginalized farmers and fisher folk.
She said the crop insurance grants were mainly released to selected beneficiaries in the provinces of Sultan Kudarat and North Cotabato.
PCIC, a government-owned and controlled corporation attached to the Department of Agriculture, has allocated P175.492 million for the implementation of the program in Region 12 and an additional P9.895 million for beneficiaries in Lanao del Norte.
“Farmers and fisher folk in areas covered by the program could still avail free crop insurance premiums through our remaining P69.5-million allotment,” she said in a statement.
Under the program, Gabulan said the agency will shoulder the crop and non-crop insurance premiums of selected beneficiaries to help protect them from crop losses as a result of natural calamities and infestations.
The free insurance coverage covers livestock, fisheries, rice, corn, high-value and other farm crops as well as non-crop items like farm machineries.
A PCIC briefer cited that the program’s target recipients are small-scale or smallholder farmers who identified themselves as either farmers or farm laborers, or both, and owns farmlands of five hectares or less.
It will also cater to non-agrarian reform beneficiaries as well as poultry, swine and cattle growers.
Artisanal fisherfolk, small-scale or subsistence fishermen are also eligible to avail of the free crop insurance program.
Gabulan said the free crop insurance benefits may be availed by farmers and fisher folk who were listed in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA), which is an electronic compilation of basic information on farmers, farm laborers and fisherfolk.
The registry is being utilized by government planners and policymakers in formulating policies for agricultural development in specific areas.
RSBSA’s data are gathered by the Department of Budget and Management, National Statistics Office, Department of Agriculture, Department of Agrarian Reform, Department of the Interior and Local Government and the National Anti-Poverty Commission.
The PCIC earlier identified some 10,426 farmers and fisher folk in South Cotabato, 15,279 in Sarangani and 32,220 in this city as target beneficiaries of the program.
The government’s insurance premium for South Cotabato beneficiaries was set at around P23 million and with the insurance value reaching P282 million.
Although under the administrative coverage of Region 12, South Cotabato, Sarangani and this city remain under the jurisdiction of PCIC-Region 11.