Apple crop insurance launched in Jumla

- Post Report, Kathmandu

May 6, 2016-

Apple crops in Jumla have been insured for the first time allowing farmers to receive compensation should their harvests fail due to bad weather.

Weather Index Insurance, a new insurance plan designed to protect farmers, was launched by Sikhar Insurance in association with Sakchyam, an access to finance initiative funded by UK Aid.

Apple farming depends heavily on the amount of rainfall. Fruit growers in Jumla have been affected by erratic rains in previous seasons which led to a sharp drop in output.

Under the new insurance scheme, claim settlement will happen automatically after the local weather station provides data showing that less than 60 millimetres of rain fell during the policy period, said Sikhar Insurance. Farmers will not need to approach the insurance company.

The drought insurance premium has been fixed at 2 percent of the total coverage. Apart from low rainfall, the insurance policy will cover damage to crops by hailstorm. 

Farmers have to pay another 0.25 percent of the input costs for additional coverage. Sikhar is planning to extend the insurance service to four more apple producing districts. 

The insurance scheme was officially launched by Insurance Board (IB) Chairman Fattah Bahadur KC amid a ceremony in Jumla on Thursday. 

Recently, apple growers have started grading their harvests using a new piece of equipment which had lain gathering dust for half a decade because there was no power to operate it or a place to set it up.

Until a few years ago, apples produced in Jumla had to be dumped for lack of buyers and proper quality while the market was flooded with imported fruits, particularly from India.

Things are very different now, as organic apples grown in this far western district of Nepal have become widely popular among Nepali consumers.

As Jumla’s organic apples are relatively cheaper and of better quality compared to Indian products, they are becoming increasing popular. 

The farm gate price of apple is Rs50 per kg. Jumla’s organic apples cost Rs80 to Rs120 per kg in the retail market depending on the quality. In the wholesale market, their prices range from Rs70 to Rs80 per kg.

Last year, the Karnali region produced 14,000 tonnes of apples. The output in Jumla, Mugu and Kalikot amounted to 3,990 tonnes, 2,923 tonnes and 5,115 tonnes respectively. 

Likewise, Humla and Dolpa produced 1,438 tonnes and 532 tonnes of apples respectively.

Published: 06-05-2016 08:32

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