Agri ministry reluctant to engage in crop insurance scheme

July 31, 2013

The ministry of agriculture is not willing to get involved in the process of introducing ‘crop insurance’ terming it ‘unfeasible’ for the millions of farmers, officials said.
‘It has a financial implication. It cannot be dealt by our ministry. So we’re actually unwilling to get involved with the matter,’ a senior official of the agriculture ministry told New Age on Monday.
Agro economists, representatives of agro-based industries, business leaders and development partners at a workshop on Sunday called for introducing crop insurance facilities to save farmers facing crop-damage risks during natural calamities.
The official of the agriculture ministry said most of the development partners and also the non-government organisations have been advocating for the crop insurance with ulterior goals to make their own benefits.
After introducing the insurance, foreign partners would be kept aside and continue taking the payment from the farmers in exchange of the premium, he said.
The officials said they decided not to get involved with the crop insurance as it would not be feasible for the country with more than 1.5 crore farmers.
Talking to New Age, Bangladesh Krishak Samity general secretary Sajjad Zahir Chandan said that crop insurance has not been introduced because of ‘non-coordination of the government’s three key ministries — agriculture, finance and food.’
‘Non-coordination has become a big problem for the country,’ he said, adding that if one ministry takes initiatives, concerned other ministries stay out of the initiative.
The farmer leader demanded that the government should immediately take measures to implement crop-insurance to save the farmers.
Although the ministry of finance allocated fund of about Tk 500 crore to introduce crop insurance three or four years back, it remained unutilized due to bureaucratic complications, he alleged.
When asked, Md. Khalequzzaman A. Chowshury, member-director (crop) at Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council, told New Age that it is very difficult to introduce crop
insurance in Bangladesh which is very prone to natural disasters.
Insurance companies may not be willing in this regard, he said, adding that insurance coverage for natural matter might be very tough. Besides, assessment of crop damage is also time consuming issue, he added.

-With New Age input

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