Govt to waive taxes on agricultural insurance

Minister of State for Finance-in-charge of General Duties, Mr Henry Musasizi advised small-scale farmers to embrace agriculture insurance schemes to recover loss from natural calamities

The Minister of State for Finance-in-charge of General Duties, Mr Henry Musasizi, has revealed that government is looking to remove Stamp duty tax on agriculture insurance, which amounts to Shs35,000 per farmer. 
Mr Musasizi made these remarks at the weekend while addressing farmers in Rubanda District.
 He advised small-scale farmers to embrace agriculture insurance schemes to recover loss from natural calamities.
Mr John Bosco Bakashaba, an official from Agro Consortium Uganda Limited, a coalition of 13 insurance companies, said the two-day workshop was aimed at sensitising farmers on the benefits of agriculture insurance schemes.

Agro Consortium Uganda Limited is a partnership between government and farmers aimed at mitigating financial loss as a result of damage and destruction of their crops and livestock due to fire, drought, floods, landslides, hailstorm damage,  and pests and diseases.

“The insurance company came up to take up agriculture insurance, train, sensitise and create awareness about the insurance which mainly covers draft and excessive rainfall losses which are rampant in the Kigezi Sub-region,” Mr Bakashaba said. 
He advised farmers who enrolled to the consortium and whose crops have been damaged to notify their offices in Kampala, Gulu, Mbale, and Mbarara.
Mr Bakashaba added that the crops covered under the scheme include coffee, maize, beans, rice, cotton, bananas, oilseeds (sunflower, sim-sim, soybeans, and groundnuts), fruit trees, tea, sorghum, barley, and Irish potatoes.

Economic growth 
Mr Musasizi said agriculture, which is the back-borne of Uganda, employs more than 75 percent of the population.
He said government would continue to support the agriculture sector by designing and implementing a number of programmes such as Operation Wealth Creation, Entandinkwa, Plan for modernisation of Agriculture, Agriculture Credit Facility in Bank of Uganda, EMYOOGA and recently the Parish Development Model and Agriculture Insurance. 
“The programmes will   render  improved service delivery and we will remain committed to working closely with Local Government structure during implementation of such programmes ,” Mr Musasizi said.
Mr Musasizi added that government through the Ministry of Finance, Bank of Uganda, Insurance Regulatory Authority and Uganda Insurers Association signed a Memorandum of Understanding to operationalise the scheme.  
“Under the scheme, government, like all other countries subsidizes agriculture insurance premiums to make it affordable and also encourage farmers take up agriculture insurance and small-scale farmers get 50 percent subsidy, large-scale farmers 30 percent and farmers in severe disaster-prone areas get 80 percent, farmers under the Parish Development Model (70 percent)”. 

Mr Musasizi revealed that government has provided Shs5b in next year’s budget to support the initiative.
The Rubanda District Production Officer, Mr Benon Kahangi, said agriculture insurance boosts production. 
“Rubanda farmers have been subjected to natural disasters like landslides, especially those who grow crops in lowland areas. The nature of our topography needs [good] service,” she said.
The officer said some farmers have been exporting potatoes and passion fruits to the neighbouring Rwanda and DR Congo.