The Lagos Agro Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Support (APPEALS Project) has appealed to farmers to embrace insurance to help mitigate effects of climate change and other natural disasters.
The State Project Coordinator, Lagos APPEALS, Mrs Oluranti Sagoe-Oviebo, made the plea during an Agricultural Insurance and Risk Management Forum for Farmers at the Johnson Agiri Complex, Oko-Oba, Agege.
The forum was facilitated by the Lagos APPEALS Project for farmers to enhance their productivity.
According to Sagoe-Oviebo, one of the focus of the APPEALS project is to enhance productivity, ensuring that farmers can sustain what they are doing to help improve livelihood.
“However, we are aware that there are issues, even as a human being, you should insure your life. For your businesses, insurance is key but unfortunately we have discovered that overtime, a lot of farmers shy away from it.
“This is the time for us to know the importance more with the climate change right now.
“Climate change is something that is affecting our farmers in a very bad way but if the farms are insured, it help to mitigate or minimise their loss,” she said.
Sagoe-Oviebo noted that insurance would also help farmers to mitigate their loss during the outbreak of epidemics like avian flu and others on their farms.
She reemphasised the need for farmers to do insurance.
A Representative of Nigeria Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC), Mr Bolaji Folayan, said businesses and entrepreneurs were exposed to risks which include those of production, transportation, financial, storage, market and legal risks.
Folayan noted that agriculture had moved away from traditional farming methods to agribusiness adding that the risk that farmers faced most were production related.
He added that agric lending banks would only give loans to farmers who had secured their farms through insurance.
He said that NAIC was setup by the Federal Government to provide insurance cover to farmers in times of loss.
According to him, the Federal Government subsides premium by 50 per cent while farmers pay 50 per cent per cycle adding that prompt reporting of loss is very important in order to facilitate prompt payment of insurance claims.
“Before now, when farmers suffer any loss on their farms, there is no compensation; they are compensated by NEMA and other emergency agencies.
“Government deemed it fit to create a corporation that will be saddled with responsibility of compensating the farmers with a pool of fund being contributed by the government and also the farmers in what we call premium,’’ he said.
A representative of the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Mr Nelson Idemudia, said NIRSAL was created to address issues contributing to the lacklustre and low level of finance and investment for agricultural and agribusiness.
Idemudia said that it was also established to fix broken agricultural value chain, complex credit assessment process and procedures, high transaction cost among others.
According to him, before NIRSAL was setup, insurance was indemnity based but it has changed to Area Yield Index Insurance.
“NIRSAL had been able to increase the number of agric insurance firms to nine to provide more insurance for farmers.
“We redefine, measure, price and share agribusiness related credit risk.
“NIRSAL does not give loan or funds directly to farmer but facilitate finance from financial institutions,” he said.
Also, Dr Bola Azeez, who represented the First Adequate Benefits Insurance Brokers, said insurance was a necessity that all farmers, irrespective of the size, must embrace.
Azeez urged farmers to protect their investment through insurance adding that it was better to have something they need than for them to need something that they don’t have.
She said that the essence of insurance was for prompt and adequate claim payment in times of emergency and losses and urged them to seek the services of broker for quick facilitation of insurance policies.
The Chairman of Erikorodo Poultry Farm Estate, Ikorodu, Mrs Juliana Ibitoye, lauded the Lagos APPEAL project for facilitating the meeting between insurance firms and farmers in the state.
Ibitoye said that the meeting was of great importance to small holder farmers because it had exposed the farmers to the opportunities in insurance during distress.
“It has been emphasised now that insurance is very important in agriculture in case of disaster, bad weather, flooding, diseases, fire, windstorm and accident.
“Any incident that can affect your produce, insurance will come to your aid and mitigate the loss. I am very happy to be part of this forum,” she said.
A fish farmer , Mrs Oluwatoyin Oloyede, commended the Lagos APPEALS for providing the platform for farmers to interface with different insurance firms to have better knowledge about how to secure their business.
She said that the forum was very educating and had encouraged her to adopt an insurance policy plan immediately.