DA, UNDP hold forum on weather index-based insurance in Davao

More than 100 farmer leaders from various provinces in regions 10 and 11 in Mindanao gathered for a two-day National Stakeholder Forum at the Marco Polo Hotel in Davao City.

The gathering, dubbed as “Scaling-up Risk Transfer Mechanisms for Climate Vulnerable Agriculture-based Communities in Mindanao”, commenced Tuesday, March 14 and will discuss the impacts of Weather Index-Based Insurance (WIBI) project implementation in the island-region.

The forum was graced by Bohol Congressman Arthur Yap, who is also a former secretary of Department of Agriculture and top officials of the United Nations Development Programme.

WIBI implementation in Mindanao is a joint effort and cooperation of the UNDP and the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) of DA.

It is aimed to reduce poverty by strengthening the resilience of vulnerable agriculture-based rural communities in Mindanao through climate risk transfer mechanisms and productivity enhancement measures.

WIBI is a form of insurance that is linked to weather-index such as rainfall rather than a possible consequence of weather such as crop failure.

The project was launched in Davao City last June 1, 2015.

From its launching until March of this year, a total of 2,413 farmers in regions 10 and 11 are already insured in WIBI – of which, 1,120 are female farmers while 1,293 are male farmers.

The total amount covered in the same period already reached up to P1,483,833.36 or USD29,700.00 with 2,743 hectares of farm areas insured.

Lorenzo Tomas is among those who benefited from WIBI last year in Davao City.

Lorenzo serves as the chairperson of Sitio Balite Farmers and Irrigators Association in Calinan with 93 members.

“Almost 50 percent of our members were insured in WIBI last year,” Lorenzo told reporters in an interview, adding that the program provides security to farmers especially in times when weather is not favorable to their production.

He said he insured one-half hectare of his rice farm last year and based on the assessment of technical people from the DA and PCIC, his farm was among those affected by excessive rainfall last year.

He received an insurance payout of P9,075.00.

The amounts of payout, he said, vary depending on the number of hectares insured and the extent of damage as assessed by the technical people.

Another farmer, Roberto Ruiz, president of Biao Dianga Farmers Association in Tugbok District, Davao City said almost half of their 48 members were also insured in WIBI last year.

Not all were able to receive payouts last year – only those that were assessed as affected areas were able to get their insurance payouts.

Ruiz said most of their members are already insured in WIBI this year.

The WIBI product include a coverage amount of P20,000 per hectare and the risks insured include excess rainfall and low rainfall.

Premiums indicated in WIBI insurance include P1,390 per hectare for low and excess rainfall in rainfed areas and P694 per hectare for excess rainfall in irrigated areas.

Farmers in regions 10 and 11 hoped for the continuing coverage of WIBI in their areas.