Focus on crop insurance

28 October, 2020 12:00 AM printer

Prices of different essential commodities including rice and vegetables have skyrocketed mainly because of a massive crop failure due to back to back floods in a short span of time. According to an estimate of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), the floods have caused around Tk 20 billion loss in terms of damaged crops including aman paddy, green chilli, peanut and winter vegetables. While the farmers in particular are the worst affected, it is a colossal loss to the nation, and has ripple effect on all of us.

Against this backdrop while consumers are getting by either expending some extra money or reducing consumption to some extent, farmers who lost their crops are suffering most because all of their investment and hard work have been washed away by the floods. With that, also washed away are their dreams and wherewithal to meet expenditure for livelihood. We don’t know whether they received any assistance or compensation.

However, since flood is a perennial problem, it would be wiser for the authorities concerned to look for ways to support farmers so that they can offset their losses. Implementing crop insurance can be one of them. Although crop insurance has already been introduced in Bangladesh under a pilot project basis with the assistance of Asian Development Bank, it is yet to be launched in a wider scale.

Now that the country faces severe challenges in agricultural sector due to frequent natural calamities like floods, cyclones, droughts, excessive rainfall etc. crop insurance can be an effective instrument to avert farmers’ financial risk. We have already witnessed that farmers’ exposure to natural disaster not only adversely affect the national economy, but also can jeopardise food security. So, safeguarding the farmers is the need of the hour.

The country has made massive stride in economic growth, but so far the growth has not been inclusive. Supporting farmers in times of their needs so that they can recover their losses can also be a step forward to ensuring inclusive economic development.