Odiongan, a picturesque town in the heart of Romblon, is an area deeply intertwined with agriculture and farming traditions. Here, the land yields abundant harvests, and its people have long depended on livestock and crops for their sustenance. However, life in the countryside can be unpredictable, with natural disasters, diseases, and other unforeseen circumstances putting the livelihoods of farmers and animal raisers at risk.
In light of these challenges, the Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO) of Odiongan has been making an earnest appeal to the livestock raisers and farmers in the area. The message is clear: it’s time to get your animals and crops insured, ensuring the safety and security of your livelihoods.
Rexfort Famisaran, the dedicated municipal agriculturist of Odiongan, took the time to emphasize the importance of this initiative. In a recent interview, he shared his concerns and hopes for the local agriculture sector. Famisaran underlined that many livestock raisers, as well as crop farmers and fishermen, in the area, have not yet availed themselves of the government’s insurance program.
The government, through the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC), offers free insurance coverage to those engaged in livestock raising, small-scale farming, and fishing. The primary focus is on the “backyard” operators, emphasizing inclusivity and protection for all. This program aims to provide a safety net for those who often have fewer resources to recover from unexpected setbacks.
Notably, the Odiongan Local Government Unit (LGU) goes the extra mile to support its agriculture sector. It takes on the responsibility of paying the insurance premiums and ensuring that livestock, crops, and even fishing boats are covered for qualified workers in these sectors. This commitment reflects the LGU’s recognition of the vital role agriculture plays in the community’s economic stability and overall welfare.
One of the key drivers behind the growing interest in insurance coverage among backyard piggery owners is the fear of African swine fever (ASF) outbreaks in other regions. While Odiongan had experienced several cases of hog deaths, subsequent tests have consistently shown that these incidents were not due to ASF. However, it’s reassuring to know that these animal raisers are still eligible for indemnity even when the losses are attributed to causes other than ASF.
To combat the threat of ASF, the Odiongan MAO acted proactively by facilitating PCIC insurance coverage for 729 backyard hog raisers. This preemptive measure helps safeguard the local swine industry against potential outbreaks, providing a safety net for those who rely on pig farming for their livelihoods. It is a testament to the MAO’s commitment to securing the future of animal raisers in the community.
Unfortunately, not all areas in Romblon have been as fortunate as Odiongan. Earlier this month, two towns on Sibuyan Island, Cajidiocan and San Fernando, were declared under states of calamity due to ASF outbreaks. This declaration highlights the severity of the issue and underscores the need for proactive measures, such as insurance coverage, to protect local economies and livelihoods.
The positive impact of insurance coverage isn’t limited to livestock raisers alone. It extends to crop farmers and fishermen who often bear the brunt of natural disasters and unforeseen challenges. The recent distribution of indemnity checks to 10 farmers and fishermen from Odiongan by PCIC on October 16 was a shining example of how insurance can be a lifeline in times of need.
Lucille Cristo, the focal person of PCIC Romblon, revealed that these payments, amounting to almost PHP75,000 in total, were intended to compensate for the losses incurred by rice crops and fishing boats due to various reasons. This financial support not only helps farmers and fishermen recover from their losses but also underscores the importance of having insurance coverage for such essential sectors.
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