SE Asian nations mull stronger agricultural insurance program

  • 17 August 2015, Monday

Source: Manila Bulletin
15 Aug 2015

Southeast Asian nations, with the Philippines in the lead, are collaborating to develop a cohesive agriculture insurance program that is resilient to challenges brought about by climate change, among others.

During a policy roundtable that was organized by Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), participants from the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam discussed about improving the agricultural insurance program to enhance resilience to climate change in Southeast Asia

In the Philippines, agricultural insurance is a government program that provides insurance protection to agricultural producers against loss of crops, livestock, and agricultural assets on account of natural calamities, plant pests and disease or other perils.

Agriculture undersecretary for Policy, Planning, Research and Development, and Regulations Segfredo Serrano said climate change has an undeniably large impact on the Philippines, especially in economic terms.

He added that while insurance deals with risks, there are too many factors for conventional systems and climate change further complicates the situation, and that uncertainties need to be converted to calculable risks, which is easier said than done.

In the meeting, country participants drafted a statement or declaration that will be submitted to their respective Ministers of Agriculture for consideration.

The draft shows planned collaboration among the countries to hasten the development and piloting of new insurance products that are socially adaptable and sustainable, and which sufficiently address the climate risks faced by agricultural producers in the region

The countries also cited there the plan to develop in-country capacities on agricultural insurance through training and collaborative projects on product research and development, exchange of insurance experts, sharing of experiences and information, and knowledge management

Collaborating on the development and testing of good agricultural practices designed to mitigate climate change that complements agricultural insurance was also emphasized in the draft.

Likewise, the participants are also suggesting the establishment of a special unit within the Ministry of Agriculture that is committed to provide insurance protection to farmers and other agricultural stakeholders.

During the roundtable, the country participants also agreed on an initial list of areas of cooperation.