We need a functional crop insurance scheme

The cyclic natures of agricultural crops are such that it is fully prone to the vagaries of nature. Which is why we rely on insurance for protection, and a functional crop insurance plan is required.

Agriculture is exposed to the whims of nature, and even wild animals who asserts their own share of claim. Natural catastrophes and other threats to farmers should also not be underestimated. As a result, existing crop insurance should cover the scenario in the event of a natural disaster and farmers should not be forced to deal with the loss of their crops.

Crop insurance is necessary to protect farmers’ interests and investments, especially when they are more exposed to climatic and natural elements over which they have no control over.

Crop insurance is just as important for farmers as any other sort of insurance. The crop they produce with all of their effort, money, and resources is equally substantial.

As a result, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF) and the Royal Insurance Corporation of Bhutan Ltd (RICBL) devised the crop insurance policy at the end of 2016 to financially protect farmers, following the Prime Minister’s direction.

The government established a crop insurance system and is still working to strengthen policies. Despite this, a large number of farmers do not use crop insurance.

This week’s unseasonably strong rains has harmed harvested paddies. As farmers began harvesting their paddies, there were reports of crop loss in the western, eastern, and central dzongkhags. Crops in the southern section of the country were also harmed by the rain.

According to the early report from Punakha Dzongkahg, the rain damaged almost 350 acres of paddy fields. In Paro, 793 acres were damaged, while in Samtse, roughly 500 acres were affected.

After farmers experienced losses, many wished for insurance, but despite officials’ efforts to educate them about crop insurance, the majority of farmers did not insure their crops.

In May of this year, the MoAF and the RICBL reached an insurance tariff deal. Farmers would be responsible for a portion of the crop loss, while the government would be responsible for the remaining 70%. The crop insurance scheme, on the other hand, appears to be outdated.

For such assistance, the system should be implemented to safeguard farmers against crop loss due to natural catastrophes, extreme weather, wild animals, or revenue loss due to agricultural market price changes. A farmer who is having difficulty with their plough should be certain that in the event of a calamity, they will at least be compensated. 

The vagaries of nature are such that no one can be spared from its grasps when it strikes. We cannot afford to leave our farmers exposed to the elements when we know than we can all help and fare better in this new world of technology and possibilities.