Ex­perts dis­cuss crop in­surance

The Myanmar Times - - Business -

THE Cam­bo­dian agri­cul­ture in­dus­try yes­ter­day dis­cussed the op­por­tu­ni­ties and chal­lenges in cre­at­ing a na­tion­wide crop in­surance scheme for small-scale farm­ers in a workshop that in­cluded the par­tic­i­pa­tion of the Ger­man devel­op­ment agency GIZ.

At­ten­dees high­lighted the need for co­op­er­a­tion among all in­dus­try play­ers to im­ple­ment the scheme, reg­u­late the sec­tor and raise aware­ness of the im­por­tance of in­sur­ing crops.

Speak­ing at the workshop, which was held in Phnom Penh, GIZ Cam­bo­dia se­nior ad­vi­sor Claudius Bre­de­hoeft said that to scale-up crop in­surance for small-scale farm­ers there is a need to cre­ate a more en­abling le­gal and reg­u­la­tory en­vi­ron­ment while in­creas­ing data avail­abil­ity and ac­ces­si­bil­ity.

He said the tech­ni­cal ca­pac­ity of in­surance and rein­sur­ance com­pa­nies, as well as the gov­ern­ment and devel­op­ment part­ners, needs to be strength­ened to en­able the cre­ation of a crop in­surance scheme us­ing RIICE tech­nol­ogy.

RIICE Tech­nol­ogy stands for ‘Re­mote Sens­ing-based In­for­ma­tion and In­surance for Crops in Emerg­ing Economies’. It is a pub­lic-pri­vate devel­op­ment part­ner­ship project to im­prove food se­cu­rity by sup­port­ing small­holder rice farm­ers in South­east Asia through satel­lite tech­nol­ogy and crop yield in­surance.

Agri­cul­ture plays a key role in the coun­try’s econ­omy and in the fight against poverty, but it is the most vul­ner­a­ble in­dus­try to nat­u­ral dis­as­ters, Mr Bre­de­hoeft said.

“Re­cently, nat­u­ral dis­as­ters in Cam­bo­dia are no­tably caused by cli­mate change and are a great con­cern, im­pact­ing eco­nomic and so­cial devel­op­ment.

“Droughts, floods, and storms cost mil­lions of dol­lars to the na­tional bud­get an­nu­ally to pro­vide di­rect aid to the af­fected pop­u­la­tion and to re­store dam­aged in­fra­struc­ture.

“The risk and loss in the agri­cul­ture ac­tiv­i­ties caused by cli­mate change or nat­u­ral dis­as­ters are be­yond the con­trol of the farmer which in many other coun­tries is trans­ferred to third par­ties through in­surance schemes,” he said

Mr Bre­de­hoeft said crop in­surance schemes not only pro­tect farm­ers, but in­crease food se­cu­rity as well. “Ex­pe­ri­ences from other coun­tries show that the in­vest­ment in agri­cul­ture is in­creas­ing when risk mit­i­ga­tion so­lu­tions are pro­vided to the farmer,” Mr Bre­de­hoeft added.

Crop in­surance schemes are dif­fi­cult to im­ple­ment since they re­quire the par­tic­i­pa­tion of a va­ri­ety of play­ers, said Cham­roeu­rith Youk, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Forte In­surance (Cam­bo­dia) Plc, adding that very few crop in­surance projects are suc­cess­ful.

Since 2015, Forte In­surance has pi­loted a crop in­surance project, ben­e­fit­ing 200 house­holds in Bat­tam­bang, Ban­teay Meanchey, Pur­sat, Siem Reap, and Kam­pong Thom.

Mr Youk said lack of co­op­er­a­tion among the dif­fer­ent ac­tors has proven a strong bur­den for the project. He said more gov­ern­ment par­tic­i­pa­tion is re­quired, adding that it will take at least three more years for the pro­gramme to run smoothly.

Photo: Kh­mer Times

Cam­bo­dian farm­ers at work.

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