In a move aimed at protecting farmers against bad weather, Uganda’s Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) is set to roll out the National Agriculture Insurance Scheme that will shield all farmers from bad weather starting next financial year, Pius Wakabi the Permanent Secretary has said.
“We want all our farmers to get involved in Agriculture Insurance. This Scheme will support them with access to agriculture loans that is still a big challenge.
“The more farmers have access to these loans, chances are high that they will transform from substance farming to commercial farming,” said Wakabi
He was speaking during MAAIF Sector Review Meeting for the Financial year 2017/2018 that was held at Speke Resort Munyonyo recently.
Wakabi said Extending Agriculture Insurance to cover the whole country will encourage commercial banks to lend to the agricultural sector, given that the risk associated with agriculture will be mitigated through the Insurance Scheme.
Currently, the government is implementing the Uganda Agriculture Insurance Scheme (UAIS) as a pilot project.
The objective of the scheme is to cushion farmers against losses arising from natural disasters.
At the moment, 54,606 farmers across the country have been enrolled to participate in the pilot project of the Agriculture Insurance Scheme.
The rolling out of the National Agriculture Insurance Scheme is expected to take off in the financial year 2018/2019, provided that the government releases funds for the sector in time.
It will see the insurance services providers offer cover to crops and Livestock for both small and large-scale farmers.
Under the scheme, Government will provide premium subsidy funds to undertake publicity, sensitization, and training of farmers across the country to embrace Agriculture Insurance.
According to Wakabi, all the necessary legal Instruments have been worked on. He explained to the participants during the sector Review meeting that comprised of sector players in the Agriculture sector that the Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) has provided all the necessary regulatory oversight and quality control alongside Bank of Uganda.
“The two regulators are working tirelessly to see that Agriculture Insurance Scheme is implemented. Bank of Uganda, on the other hand, will be managing the drawdown on UAIS Account.
“We have put in place the Monitoring and Evaluation of the scheme. It is being done by the UAIS Technical working team and so far over 54,000 farmers have benefited from the pilot scheme.
“In the financial year 2017/2018, insured farmers who lost their crops and livestock were compensated and are prepared for the coming season,” stressed Wakabi.
Reacting to the government decision of rolling out the Agriculture Insurance Scheme, Mario Mangu-Acel, the National Chairperson of Eastern and Southern Africa Small Scale Farmers’ Forum (ESSAF) said the scheme will help farmers to mitigate the impact of climate change.
“The Insurance scheme is good to farmers especially small-scale farmers but the challenge is that most of them are still ignorant about Insurance values,” said Acel.
Vincent Ssempijja the Agriculture Minister said they are investing resources towards the construction of infrastructures to support farmers to adopt irrigation technologies.
BY SAMUEL NABWIISO