Press Release
August 6, 2015

Villar: "Improving the agricultural insurance program
 is key in enhancing climate change resilience"

Sen. Cynthia Villar asserted the significance of improving the agricultural insurance program to reduce the damage brought about by climate change in the country's food security and rice self-sufficiency.

"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," she said.

Villar gave this statement 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.

"Problems due to climate change are realities that we Filipinos have been facing, particularly in recent years when extreme weather conditions such as super typhoons, massive flooding, El Niño and La Niña phenomena among others have been causing death and destruction in our country," Villar said.

According to climate experts, typhoons such as Haiyan that packed winds of at least 300 kph will likely be "the norm" in the Philippines, she added.

Villar cited a recent United Nations report identifying the Philippines (with a population of 100 million) as the third-most at-risk from climate change in the world, ranked behind the South Pacific island nations of Vanuatu (with a population of only 255,000) and Tonga (with a population of 105,000).

In another report released by Environmental organization German Watch, the Global Climate Risk Index 2015, the Philippines was listed as the number one country most affected by weather-related disasters like storms, floods, and heat waves, followed by Cambodia and India.

"I have looked closely on the status of the Philippine crop insurance system. We are drafting a bill to expand the scope and coverage of crop insurance. We want to strike a balance between the existing practice of providing subsidies and ensuring the sustainability or profitability of the insurance provider," the chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Food and the Committee on Government Corporations and Public Enterprises, said.

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 PhP7 billion for corn farmers alone.

Damage to agriculture caused by super typhoon Yolanda which hit the country in November 2013, reached over PhP90 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.

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