August 19, 2016

Farmers need agricultural insurance policies


Torrential rains in many areas of Myanmar pose problems for residents. Although natural disasters cannot be prevented, their consequences can be reduced through response and recovery programmes, as well as rehabilitation projects.
Local government emergency services are responsible for the initial response to disasters with the help of state and volunteer agencies, followed by the contributions of respective departments, providing search and rescue, electricity, food, water, shelter and other fundamental needs.
Heavy rains have persisted from the second week of July in many areas of Myanmar and have caused floods in some regions and states. Flooded areas have been evacuated and evacuees provided with accommodation at temporary relief camps.
Locals will suffer certain consequences from disasters in varying degrees. While there have been no deaths reported, farmlands are sure to be left damaged after floods. To help farmers hit by floods, a crop insurance scheme should be launched in Myanmar at a reasonable price. This programme should be set up by the respective ministries and financial institutions to prevent a monopoly by a private firm.
In some neighbouring countries, insurance policies on paddy fields cover damage incurred from natural disasters, as well as pests and epidemics. In these countries, farmers purchase crop insurance to protect themselves against either the loss of their crops due to disasters such as drought and floods, or from other sources of damage, such as wild elephants.
Insurance policy for in-season paddy fields should be compulsory to all farmers who receive subsidies for fertilizers. For example, farmers who purchase fertilizers may be required to pay a compulsory premium to become a policy holder of the insurance scheme.
Such an insurance scheme should be included in the recovery plan for farmers to reduce their burdens caused by natural disasters.


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