(PNA photo by Oliver Marquez)

MANILA – The government must expand its support in the agriculture sector through the provision of automatic crop insurance coverage for farmers cultivating up to 8 hectares.

In a news release on Monday, Senator JV Ejercito said he has filed Senate Bill 390, or the Crop Insurance Program for Small Farmers Act of 2022, so that farmers will be spared from borrowing money, some with high interest rates that force them them to sell their products at a lower price to the lenders.

The bill mandates the Department of Agriculture (DA) to provide crop insurance and pay half of the premium of farmers who are tilling more than 5 hectares but not exceeding 8 hectares.

“Needless to say, crop insurance is imperative for a country like the Philippines, where farmers are the poorest among the various sectors of the society,” Ejercito said.

Ejercito pointed out that the damage wrought by tropical cyclones Karding and Paeng underscored the importance of providing financial assistance to small farmers, who suffer the most when natural disasters strike.

As reported by the DA, Super Typhoon Karding damaged at least PHP3.12 billion in agriculture in September while the initial estimated damage caused by Severe Tropical Storm Paeng over the weekend was pegged at PHP200 million.

“In an effort to help farmers in times of need, to improve agricultural productivity and to ensure food security, it is imperative to have a mandatory crop insurance,” Ejercito said. (With a report from Leonel Abasola/PNA)