The use of satellite technology to provide better crop insurance will be the start of digitalizing agriculture in the Philippines as part of the new normal, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said.

DA with Planter’s Products Inc. (PPI) and Satsure AG has signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on June 8 to provide better crop insurance in the country using satellite technology in an effort to digitize Philippine agriculture.

In a virtual presser, DA Sec. William Dar said that the satellite technology would start in three pilot provinces namely Nueva Ecija, Iloilo, and North Cotabato.

“Ang Planter’s Products Inc. (PPI) at Satsure AG ay nagpirmahan, isang memorandum of agreement para yong satellite technology ay gagamitin na natin sa tatlong pilot provinces of crop insurance kung may damage gaya ng bagyo, drought or any natural disaster. Ang satellite technology na ang tutulong kung anong level or degree ng damage,” Dar said.

“Talagang this is the start of digitalizing agriculture natin even in our farmers’ registry, we need to use the very relevant apps para mas makilala na natin at kapag nagbigay na ng farmers amelioration ay mas integrity ang ating listahan,” he added.

The 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 improve crop insurance and agriculture lending to farmers, DA stated.

The project, with the initial funding support of P5 million, targets to provide satellite imaging for the 100,000 hectares planted with rice and 40,000 hectares planted with various crops within six months.

The project will also help the DA to improve its disaster response, particularly on risk insurance. He said crop monitoring should be improved, according to a press statement released.

Dar said DA has also started the digital agriculture through electronic Kadiwa or eKadiwa which is an online market of agricultural produce products of local farmers. The eKadiwa was used by consumers in the digital transactions along with ‘Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita’ outlets and Kadiwa on wheels.

In digitalizing the agriculture in the Philippines, DA is looking forward to also identify and see crops planted in a particular season to prepare their links to markets in different regions and provinces in the country.

To extend immediate assistance to affected farmers of different natural calamities, the department will also roll out its quick response fund from Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC).

“Sa Quick response fund, doon natin, on top of the funds of Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation, miyembro ng ating pamilya. Meron tayong quick response fund na puwedeng ibibigay na agad sa mga naapektuhang magsasaka kagaya ng seeds o seedlings at may mga nakaimbak na tayo sa sa mga strategic warehouses sa iba’t ibang rehiyon sa ating bansa,” he said.