DA and PPI Tap Satellite Tech For Crop Insurance

In photo: RANILO M. MADERAZO (left), president and chief executive officer of Planters Products Inc., Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar (center), and Arvind Kumar (right) of Satsure AG were present during the signing of an agreement with the private company to improve crop insurance delivery in the country using satellite technology

In an effort to digitize Philippine agriculture, the Department of Agriculture (DA) through Planters Products Inc. (PPI) and the Satsure AG signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on June 8, 2020 to improve crop insurance delivery in the country using satellite technology.

The MOA signing was witnessed by Agriculture Secretary William Dar and Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) President lawyer Jovy Bernabe.

The project, with an initial funding support of P5 million, targets to provide satellite imaging for 100,000 hectares planted with rice and 40,000 hectares planted with various crops within the next six months. It will be piloted in the provinces of Nueva Ecija, Iloilo and North Cotabato.

“We welcome this partnership between PPI and Satsure AG. It will help in our ongoing efforts to provide our farmers with direct and targeted assistance to improve their productivity,” Dar said.

He said the project will also help the DA improve its disaster response, particularly on risk insurance. Dar also said crop monitoring should be improved.

“The traditional source of information, which relies heavily on fieldwork, will be insufficient in the country. As we modernize our agriculture sector, we must continuously explore for relevant technology to increase sufficiency and productivity,” Dar said.

Satsure AG is a developer based in Switzerland whose works include remote sensing satellite and other sensing sources to monitor agricultural crop portfolio and estimate agriculture yields, with the objective of enabling better risk management and improving crop insurance lending to farmers.

PCIC is an agency under the DA mandated to provide crop insurance to small holders in the agriculture sector. Under the leadership of Bernabe, it has evolved into a more resilient and viable government-owned and -controlled corporation.

In July, PCIC remitted P453 million worth of dividends to the national government through the Department of Finance (DOF) covering 2019.

The dividend was declared by the PCIC Board as the agency marked 2019 as another milestone year in its operation.

The amount was remitted to the DOF pursuant to Republic Act 7656, the law that requires government corporations to declare dividends to the national government.

“The PCIC recognizes the government’s need for funds amid this Covid-19 pandemic,” Bernabe said, referring to the coronavirus disease 2019.

“It’s one of our contributions to ensure that people be provided with continuous social services and assistance as we deal with this crisis,” he added.