Farmers urged to insure crops Dr John Basera

Conrad Mupesa Mashonaland West Bureau

Farmers should consider insuring their crops to shield themselves from the vagaries of climate change and some man-made disasters such as wildfires, Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development permanent secretary Dr John Basera has said.

Zimbabwe is expecting a normal to below normal rainfall this season due to the impact of the anticipated El Nino phenomenon.

“It is imperative that farmers are insured so that they protect themselves from unexpected losses due to unpredictable natural weather disasters and as Government, we are doing everything to ensure that the farming industry does not suffer unexpected losses related to weather induced challenges,” said Dr Basera recently.

Insurance and Pensions Commission of Zimbabwe (IPEC) public relations manager Mr Lloyd Gumbo said they were rolling out outreach programmes to provide awareness to “neglected communities”.

The move, he said, buttresses President Mnangagwa’s call for financial inclusion.

Mr Gumbo said IPEC was encouraging communal farmers battling the adverse impacts of climate change to safeguard their crops through investing in insurance.

“Communal farmers are the most affected globally as far as climatic changes are concerned. Micro insurance and agricultural insurance products can help them recover from the negative aftermaths of climate change, veld fires and other occurrences,” he said.

IPEC, in conjunction with the Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Ministry, and insurance and agriculture stakeholders, is now working on the innovation lab project that seeks to guarantee the protection of farmers.

The project also seeks to ensure seed companies develop and provide varieties that are adaptive to the farmers’ areas and regions.

The banking sector has urged farmers to invest in insurance packages such as index-based insurance, a policy that will help them get compensation for yield reduction due to climate change challenges.

Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) insurance company manager and an agriculture insurance expert, Mr Cuthbert Masukume said: “Since farming is a serious business, it is necessary for farmers to ensure that their investments are secured and their food security guaranteed.

“We are complementing Government efforts of ensuring food security and as AFC, with our technical partners, we are providing an index-based insurance product where indemnity is paid to the farmer if the realised average yield for the area is less than the insured yield.

“It covers reduction in yield caused by the effects of drought, cyclones, windstorms, frost, excessive rainfall, heatwave, fire, hail, flood, and pests and diseases.”

The loss suffered by the insured farmer is determined through conducting crop-cut experiments and the yield index insurance product is seen as a game-changer that will lure farmers to embrace insurance.

“Climate change has amplified the need for financial protection and as an institution, we are educating and encouraging farmers to embrace climate smart agriculture insurance options,” he added.

A cattle rancher from Zvimba’s Ward 7, Mr Gilbert Paradza, said farmers should embrace agriculture insurance as weather patterns were always changing.

Mrs Francisca Paradzai (76) from Makonde district challenged insurance companies to extensively advertise their products to attract farmers as Zimbabwe is expected to receive normal to below average rains this summer.

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