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Set Up Insurance Schemes For Farmers, Govt Urged

by Jacquiline Nakandi
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By Petride Mudoola                                                        

Government has been asked to set up Insurance Schemes for small-scale farmers to ensure that their farms are protected in case of a disaster outbreak.

East and Southern Africa Small Scale Farmers Forum (ESSAFF) chairperson Hakim Baliraine says: “Agriculture is a very risky venture given the possible climatic misfortunes; small-scale farmers often lose their farm produce and equipment to disaster because there is no insurance scheme to compensate them”.

Citing Elnino, hailstorms, bushfires and dry spells, he referred to the Bududa landslide, and floods in Teso and Karamoja regions among the calamities that are likely to affect farmers.

“Agriculture is a significant base for the economy; however, despite its contributions, small-scale farmers who dominate it have been greatly constrained in terms of protecting their produce. Financial institutions are reluctant to lend money to farmers. This explains the difficulties the sector faces,” Baliraine said.

Alice Naigaga, a farmer explains that when pests destroyed her one acre of tomatoes; she lost over sh8m that she had invested in this project. She had hoped that she would use the proceeds to pay her children’s school fees. Naigaga felt like her life had come to an end.

“While insurance cannot guarantee perfect climatic and pest-free conditions, it will offer compensation in case such risks occur. Insurance can also be used as security for loan applicants.” Baliraine explained.

The insurance scheme will help to overcome challenges that farmers are likely to face in case of a disaster outbreak. This, according to Baliraine, can be achieved through paying back farmers who lose their properties and farming produce.

Owing to the expansion of the regional food market, there is a need to increase agricultural production so that there is adequate food for both local consumption and export, Baliraine recommended. 

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