Senator Cynthia Villar pushed yesterday for the strengthening of the agricultural insurance program to complement measures aimed at reducing damage brought about by climate change in the country’s food security and rice self-sufficiency.
The chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture and Food Committee said farmers have to contend with real effects of climate change as seen in recent years with the devastation wrought by super typhoons, massive flooding, El Niño and La Niña phenomena, among others.
“We definitely need to develop adaptive measures and strategies. Climate-resilient varieties of rice, corn and other crops as well as pioneering procedures and advanced technologies are already being developed and used. But that is not enough. Strengthening agricultural insurance will definitely complement other preventive measures,” said Villar.
She made this assessment during the Policy Roundtable on “Improving the Agricultural Insurance Program to Enhance Resilience to Climate Change in Southeast Asia” initiated by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) held at Ascott Hotel, Makati City.
According to the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC), during the period between 1982 and 2012, crop losses brought about by typhoons, floods, droughts, plant diseases and pests reached P7 billion for corn farmers alone.
Damage to agriculture caused by super typhoon ‘’Yolanda’’ which hit the country in November 2013, reached over P90 billion (about US$2 billion). It damaged about 600,000 hectares of agricultural lands, with an estimated 1.1 million metric tons of crops lost.