Tuesday , June 28 2022
Home / NEWS / Agriculture insurance still a mystery among farmers in Acholi

Agriculture insurance still a mystery among farmers in Acholi

Many farmers in Acholi believe that any talk about insurance is a trick to steal from them.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Farmers in Acholi sub-region are yet to embrace insurance policies put in place to protect them from losses arising out of drought, pests and disease and floods among other calamities.

The government unveiled in the financial year 2016-2017, a 5 billion Shillings Agriculture Insurance Premium subsidy, for an initial five-year period to boost the uptake of agriculture insurance policies for both crops and livestock farmers.

The policy encourages commercial banks to lend to both small and large scale farmers whose activities focus on National priority crops and livestock. Through the scheme, the loans disbursed by the financial institutions are protected from the effects of agriculture risks and natural disasters over which the farmers have limited or no control.

However, a number of farmers say they have no idea that crops can be insured while others are reluctant to adopt it. A 2019 study by the Economic Policy Research Centre shows that northern Uganda has the lowest uptake of agriculture insurance with only slightly 7,000 farmers translating to only 10.5 percent insuring their crops.

Simon Opiro, the chairperson of Paicho Central Kal Cooperative Society Limited says that many farmers believe that any talk about insurance is a trick to steal from them. The cooperative formed and registered in 1964 in Paicho sub county in Gulu district has 219-members, but none of them has bought the idea of insuring their crops.

“When you tell farmers about insurance, they ask many questions. First, because there is no local word we can use to replace “insurance”, so most of them say it is a ploy to steal their money especially if the risk they insured their crop against did not happen,” Opiro said.

Denis Ojara whose family owns a 40-acre farm in Abwoch Onang in Omoro district where they are engaged in poultry, piggery and crop production says he first heard about agricultural insurance from this interview, adding that it is obvious many farmers don’t have even the most basic knowledge on agriculture insurance.

He says there is a need for the insurance companies offering such services to sensitise the farmers about it.

Ben Ocan, the chairperson of Latyeng farmers group in Bungatira sub-county in Gulu district says it has not been easy to convince the 300 members who produce about 700 acres of rice every season, about the need to insure their crops.

“I personally have knowledge about agriculture insurance, but it has been hard for me to make fellow farmers understand it. I think it needs another organization or authority to sensitize my members of the benefits of crop insurance,” Ocan said.

Morrish Atwom, the Kitgum district commercial officer says that insurance is part of the packages they give farmers when training them on financial literacy, but its uptake remains very low.

“When we train them on insurance, they really show interest, but the practicality is zero. I have not heard of anyone farmer in the district who has insured their crop,” Atwom said. Atwom says there is a need for rigorous sensitization of farmers on the benefits of insurance if they are to take it up.

An agricultural risk assessment study done in 2015 shows that Uganda loses between USD 606 million to USD 804 million per year due to pests and diseases in crops and animals, post-harvest loses and drought and price fluctuations.

There are ten insurance firms working with the government to insure the loans. The firms include APA, Lion Insurance, Pax Insurance, Gold Star Insurance, Phoenix Insurance and Jubilee Insurance among others to help farmers neutralize losses from these hazards.

*****

URN

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *