THE United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), through the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (DA-PCIC), launched the $1-million Crop Insurance Project in Mindanao in a bid to help farmers and their livelihood cope up with climate change.

Called "Scaling-up Risk Transfer Mechanisms for Climate Vulnerable Agriculture-based Communities in Mindanao," the program is an initiative involving various agencies as partners, including Climate Change Commission (CCC), National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), Philippine Insurance Commission (PIC), Agricultural Credit and Policy Council (ACPC), Agricultural Guarantee Fund Pool (AGFP), Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), DA Regional Field Units (DA-RFUs), Department of Science and Technology (DOST)-Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM), Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), financial service providers such as King Cooperative, First Valley Bank and Cantilan Bank, and local government units (LGUs) in Northern Mindanao and Davao.

The development of a Weather Index Based Insurance (Wibi) is the major component of the project.

Wibi is designed to address two types of climate risks, including the increasing variability in climate and climate change-induced natural disasters.

According to PCIC regional manager Bonifacio V. Pales, the insurance program will be based on the cost of production input by the farmers and is linked to an index such as rainfall rather than a possible consequence of weather, such as crop failure.

"The payout is based on the amount of rainfall and it is by stage of crop cost of production input. Per hectare in Region 11 rice farmers are with maximum payout of P20,000, while in Region 10 is P15,000," Pales said.

"For corn, it is higher, approximately P30,000 per hectare per farmer," added by Israel Q. dela Cruz, national project coordinator.

The Wibi project will be implemented in the agricultural communities, farming households in areas previously devastated by typhoons Pablo and Sendong in Davao and Northern Mindanao, respectively.

Qualified farmers with production area within the 15-kilometer radius of Pagasa's rain gauge facility, an instrument capable in testing the amount of rainfall as basis for the index of the insurance, will be listed in the Registry for System of Basic Agriculture (RSBA).

Wibi will cover a total of 2000 farming household beneficiaries in both region, 1,000 of whom will be from Davao Region. It will run for three years, from 2014 to 2017 with $455,000 budget spread to different activities and outputs from implementing agencies.

Farmers must apply to avail themselves of the insurance to PCIC through its partner banks and financial service providers.

The project's other components are Policy Advocacy and Knowledge and Community-based adaptation learning and measures.

This project is expected to contribute to the DA's program for food security and improvement of the livelihood of farmers.