CSPPS Policy Seminar Tackles Cover Crops, Climate Change Resilience, and Crop Insurance

The Center for Strategic Planning and Policy Studies (CSPPS) of the College of Public Affairs and Development (CPAf) conducted a policy seminar titled, “Cover Crops, Climate Change Resilience, and Crop Insurance: Research to Policy Relevant Messages” on 17 May 2024 at CPAf Rooms 303 and 304.

In her opening remarks, CPAf Dean Aileen V. Lapitan introduced CPAf as an institution that aims to develop thought leadership in areas of development through world-class education, people-centered service, and robust interdisciplinary research. Lapitan also highlighted that the seminar’s topic is evident in weaving knowledge from different disciplines into workable and actionable policy messages.

Dr. Roderick M. Rejesus, a Professor and Extension Specialist from the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics of North Carolina State University, served as the guest speaker. In his talk, he examined the relationship among cover crops, climate change resilience, and crop insurance.

In his presentation, Rejesus highlighted the capability of cover crops to enhance resilience to climate change-induced extreme weather events. Despite its benefits, its adoption rate in the US is still low, one of the reasons being the portrayal of crop insurance by mainstream media as the policy-related barrier behind the low rate of cover crop adoption. 

To further add to the discussion, Rejesus presented his study to examine whether crop insurance participation statistically reduces and strongly disincentivizes cover crop adoption. In his findings, he discovered that crop insurance coverage has a statistically significant disincentive effect; however, its magnitude is too small to be economically meaningful. His study implied that crop insurance is not a “major” barrier to cover crop adoption. Rejesus suggested looking at other policy mechanisms including conservation payments, carbon markets, education, and outreach. 

Rejesus concluded his presentation by sharing some insights on research to policy messages. These include doing research well and networking with media, journalists, and policymakers. “You are the messenger. You are just showing what the data sort of tells you. You have to stand your ground in this policy discussion”, Rejesus told his fellow researchers. 

After the talk, CSPPS University Researcher Francis John F. Faderogao, served as the discussant. He emphasized the agriculture sector as one of the most vulnerable sectors to climate change hazards and the low Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation’s (PCIC) agricultural insurance penetration rate. “We have to provide information to our farmers. They are the backbone of our economy—our farmers, our fisherfolk. They need information that they can use in their daily lives”, he added. 

During the open forum, the importance of proper implementation of agricultural insurance was emphasized. Rejesus underscored the significant role of the government’s subsidy in encouraging farmers to avail more of crop insurance. However, he explained that crop insurance is expensive from a government perspective because, unlike car insurance which involves small systemic risk, non-systemic risk in agriculture is harder to mitigate. He also mentioned the role of education to inform farmers about the existence of different agricultural insurance they can benefit from. As his last message for the seminar, Rejesus asserted giving proper incentives to researchers to encourage them to disseminate their research results to a wider audience for adoption. 

For the closing remarks, CSPPS OIC-Director Nelson Jose Vincent B. Querijero reminded the CPAf community of the importance of translating research results into practice. He encouraged his fellow researchers to bear in mind the purpose of doing research and extension activities. In relation to the seminar, the long-lived aspirations of farmers to move up in their social status might be one motivation of researchers.

This policy seminar is one of the pre-event activities for the 50th Anniversary Celebration of CSPPS in June 2024. Visit the CPAf Facebook page to know more about the upcoming activities of CSPPS.

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Arietta Nicole Archivido