Jomsom apples insured against bad weather

- Post Report, Kathmandu
The weather insurance index is a new scheme designed to protest farmers from weather afflicted damage to crops. It is being offered by Sikhar Insurance in association withSakchyam Access to Finance initiative

May 2, 2018-Apple farmers of Jomsom, Mustang have gotten their crops insured for the first time, allowing them to receive cash compensation should their crops face unfavourable weather.

Sikhar Insurance in association with Sakchyam Access to Finance initiative funded by UK Aid on Sunday launched the weather insurance index (WII), a new insurance plan designed to protect farmers from weather afflicted damage to crops.

The product was launched amidst an interaction held with apple farmers of Jomsom during the formal opening of Sakchyam-supported branch of the insurance company. The newly opened branch was inaugurated by Chiranjibi Chapagain, chairman of the Insurance Board. Also present at the event were senior representatives from Shikhar Insurance and Sakchyam along with representatives of the local government.

As part of the WII product, Shikhar will compensate farmers on the basis of data provided by weather station in Marpha. The farmers will receive automatic claim payment if rainfall between April and May is 40 mm or less. The lesser the rainfall in this period, the higher the settlement amount for the apple farmer. The insurance product also covers the risk of hailstorm.

After deducting the government subsidy, farmers will have to pay 2 percent premium for weather index and 0.25 percent for hailstorm coverage.

 During the opening of the branch, it was announced that up to 600 apple trees in Mustang have been insured already.

Speaking at the launching ceremony, Dip Prakash Pandey, CEO of Shikhar Insurance said the newly launched insurance plan will be an important milestone to protect apple farmers from bad weather. “The insurance company will continue to expand its outreach to rural areas to protect farmers,” said Pandey.

Weather related risks has increased the vulnerability of smallholder farmers and has negatively impacted their livelihoods. WII can promote significant economic efficiency by allowing farmers to focus on agriculture without worrying about crops being damaged by weather. Sakchyam collaborated with Shikhar to introduce WII to apple farmers of Jumla for the first time in Nepal back in 2016, read the press statement issued by Sakchyam. Apple farming depends heavily on the amount of rainfall. Fruit growers in Nepal have been affected by erratic rains which led to a sharp drop in output.

Besides Jumla and Mustang, Shikhar has already opened three other Sakchyam-supported branches in Mugu, Kalikot and Dolpa to expand WII.  As of April 2018, Shikhar has issued more than 1,500 WII policies to apple farmers insuring more than 41,397 apple trees worth Rs89 million.

Published: 02-05-2018 08:50

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