Print Edition - 2016-10-07 | MONEY
Agricultural insurance plan flops in Midwest
Oct 7, 2016-
The subsidised farm insurance scheme launched by the government in midwestern Nepal has been a flop with not one policy sold in the last fiscal year.
The utter failure has been blamed on the lack of initiative of the concerned authorities to promote the insurance programme which has been designed to protect farmers against crop losses.
According to the Regional Agricultural Directorate (RAD), Surkhet, 10 midwestern districts—Dailekh, Jajarkot, Salyan, Pyuthan, Rukum, Rolpa, Kalikot, Mugu, Humla and Dolpa—recorded zero sales of crop insurance policies last year.
“The district agricultural offices should take the blame for this, as they are the concerned authorities who should promote the scheme,” said RAD Director Shiva Narayan Chaudhary.
“We have already warned the district agricultural offices not to repeat the mistake this fiscal year.”
The directorate has also instructed them to mobilise local media to popularise
the insurance programme among farmers.
Non-life insurance companies have been offering various agricultural insurance schemes since the introduction of the Crops, Livestock and Poultry Insurance Directive in January 2013.
These schemes can be purchased by paying an annual premium equivalent to
5 to 6 percent of the insurance coverage.
The insurer will pay compensation for losses to assets such as crops, poultry, livestock and farmed fish caused by disease or natural disasters.
In a bid to promote sales of the insurance schemes that protect farmers against various types of risks, the government has been providing a 75 percent subsidy on the premium for the last three years.
The incentive helped non-life insurance companies to insure agricultural assets worth Rs6 billion in the last fiscal year, as against Rs3.2 billion in 2014-15. Although more and more farmers in other parts of the country have started reaping benefits from the subsidised agricultural scheme, many farmers in midwestern Nepal are not aware of this programme.
In order to promote the insurance programme, various private non-life insurance companies have expanded their reach to different districts of midwestern Nepal.
Also, agricultural development offices have appointed ‘focal persons’ to generate awareness about the benefits of insuring agricultural products. Even then, many farmers are not aware of the programme.
“We have farmer groups or agricultural cooperatives in almost every settlement.
But we haven’t heard anything about an agricultural insurance programme from agricultural offices or insurance companies,” said Ram Prasad Pandey, a farmer of Seri, Dailekh. “What is the use of a programme that can’t benefit farmers?”
Published: 07-10-2016 08:25