DA insures rice fields to prepare for dry spell

PREPARATIONS for the dry season are underway in Northern Mindanao region as farmlands most likely to be affected by drought have already been insured, the agriculture department said.

Already, the Department of Agriculture in the region (DA-10) is in the process of insuring farm areas planted with rice at the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC).

Paulo Diputado, project development assistant of DA-10’s Agri-Pinoy rice program, said some rice farmers in Northern Mindanao have coordinated with the agency so their crops can be insured.

Diputado said the DA-10 has allocated more than P5 million for the weather-adverse rice areas (Wara) in the region.

He said DA-10 would shoulder the insurance payment of P500 per hectare per year.

The funding for the crop insurance comes from the DA national office and is downloaded to the regional offices for implementation.

As in the previous year, DA-10 is targeting 11,707 hectares of rice fields for crop insurance, which covers not only drought but also flood.

But, so far, only 6,693 hectares have been insured with the PCIC, said Diputado.

Crop insurance coverage for the year is from March to September.

To avail of the crop insurance, farmers have to report to their local government unit who will then recommend them to the DA for insurance coverage.

In Northern Mindanao, the farmlands affected by Wara include almost all areas of Bukidnon, Lala and Kapatagan in Lanao del Norte, and almost all municipalities of Misamis Occidental and Misamis Oriental.

The region has around 158,388 hectares of tilled land, with most of the rice fields found in Bukidnon (92,574 hectares) and Lanao del Norte (40,060 hectares), according to a data from the DA-10.

Diputado said the agriculture department is also assisting the farmers by providing them with drought-tolerant rice varieties and advising them to plant vegetables that can thrive with minimal water like mong beans (mongo) and squash.

But even without calamities, the DA-10 has been giving support in various forms to the farmers.

Cora Dumayaca, DA-10’s regional rice anchor, in her presentation during a recently held media forum, said land tillers can also avail of community seed banking, seed buffer stocking, as well as support to upland and rain-fed rice ecosystem and seed production, and integrated crop management like soil analysis, pest and disease management.

Meanwhile, DA-10 regional director Lealyn Ramos urged landowners to devote their time to agriculture as it can be a profitable enterprise.

Ramos said there are schools that are offering agriculture-based courses but it’s the people who look at agriculture in a traditional way.

“But agriculture is not just about production, it’s also a science,” Ramos told reporters.


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