Sinag to national gov’t: Provide aid  to farmers devastated by El Nino

April 3, 2016 at 10:03 pm Leave a comment


 

The Samahang Industriya sa Agrikultura (SINAG) today demanded that the national government provide not only immediate aid to rural communities devastated by El Nino but also the much needed production support so that farmers can start replanting.

“Last month pa sinasabi ng Department of Agriculture na may Php 900 million na suporta sa mga magsasaka na nasalanta ng El Nino. Sa halip, ang nabababalitaan natin ay ang pamumudmud ng tseke at mga farm equipments, na tila ay pangangampanya para sa kanilang kandidato,” lamented Rosendo So, Sinag chair.

In a statement, Sinag also disclosed that at the budget deliberations last year, the DA kept on assuring the farming sector of the availability of funds to mitigate the impact of El Nino.

“The short term solution is to provide, immediately and for free, all the farm inputs and services needed by farmers so they can immediately start replanting; this would include seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, the waiving of irrigation fees and relaxing the rules for immediate credit assistance from the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC),” added So.

The agri alliance contended that there was no justification for a very slow and politicized response to calamities such as El Nino; the government has a list of farmers in each locality so there is no need for any certification from concerned local government units.

 “In the long run, we want to radically increase the budget of PCIC but at the same time, we want a transparent and accountable insurance system that will truly benefit the small farmers in times of calamities such as El Nino,” continued So.

 According to SINAG, PCIC’s budget for 2016 is a measly Php 1.6 billion and coverage of just over half a million farmers; representing just over five per cent (5%) of  the 11 (eleven) million Filipinos that are employed in the agriculture sector.  

 Since last year, SINAG had been urging the government, through the DA, to increase by tenfold, or to Php 16 billion, the budget of PCIC and accomplish its mandate of providing insurance to farmers against losses arising from natural calamities.

 “In this period of extreme climate hazards and unusual weather events, subsistence farmers and artisanal fishers have to cope with an increasing and more frequent crop losses; government should and must provide guaranteed and automatic risk coverage to all rice farmers and other small producers,” insisted So.     

 The agri-alliance disclosed that the premium of subsidies being provided by other governments to their agriculture sector in the last five years is on crop insurance.

 According to the group, even the US government has increased by two folds its domestic support to rice farmers; from an annual average of 128 $/mt from 1986 to 1999 to the current 356 $/mt or around Php 16,000/mt.

 In Thailand, rice farmers can receive insurance coverage of as much as 606 baht/rai or around Php 5,000/ hectare.

 The group adds that almost all recent scientific studies point to the fact that the incidence of extreme weather will increase, and will have an increasing influence on agricultural production. Even our Asian neighbors are adjusting their budget and policies to combat the impact of climate change on the agriculture sector.

 The agri-alliance is also calling on the government to permanently waive irrigation fees imposed on farmers.

According to Sinag, the Philippines is  the only country that imposes such huge fees to irrigation services (around Php 2,000 per hectare) in the region, much costlier than our ASEAN neighbors; with Vietnam, Thailand and China providing free irrigation services.

 

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Entry filed under: News.

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