Kampala. Government has agreed to provide subsidies to farmers to enable them access insurance cover against losses incurred due to natural disasters.
Under the new partnership with the National Union of Coffee Agribusiness and Farm Enterprises (Nucafe) and Agro- consortium, government will be paying 50 per cent of the insurance premiums for interested farmers to enable them insure their crops against calamities such as drought.
The country manager Agriculture Re-insurance Consultants, Mr Robert Serwanga, one of the initiators of the programme, said this is a move which farmers should embrace.
He said this financial year, government has invested a total sum of Shs5b in subsidies.
“The drought accounts for 65 per cent of the losses incurred by farmers in the country and such an innovation ensures farmers will no longer incur losses,” Mr Serwanga said.
He said a farmer has no control over the drought situation therefore, at that level of risk farmers must continue to be helped, Mr Serwanga said.
However, the executive director Nucafe, Mr Joseph Nkandu, said the insurance cover, code Named, the Coffee Drought Index insurance, is going to first benefit coffee farmers across the country, and is intended to attract more farmers into coffee production.
“With the introduction of this insurance cover, the country will attain its target of producing the 20 million bags of coffee by 2020,” Mr Nkandu said.
He said for example a farmer, will give the value of his crop in a particular season which will be the basis of the farmers’ premium of 5 per cent.
But instead of paying the 5 per cent, he or she will pay 2.5 per cent since government has subsidised the cover by 50 per cent.
Each season a farmer will be required to pay for insurance cover.
Mr Vincent Mulidwa, a coffee farmer from Nakwaya in Kikandwa Sub–county, Mityana District, said the initiative has been long overdue because farmers are incurring losses due to calamities such as drought.
“Over the last three years, i have made losses twice because of drought. The losses are more than 60 per cent,” he revealed.
Mr Isaac Matovu, a resident of Mpatta Sub -county in Mukono District, said for a long time, farmers have been left behind.
“This is a great opportunity for farmers because if your crops are insured there will be no losses to incur,” he said.
He asked the implementing agencies to ensure that they are transparent to the farmers.
He said banks have consistently refused to take risks of giving loans to farmers and this has been a great obstacle to the farmer.
Agriculture is the most important sector of the economy, employing one third of the work force. Coffee accounts for the bulk of export revenues.