KELLY NJOMBO, Lusaka
GOVERNMENT has called on insurance firms to develop affordable weather index insurance products in the wake of climate change as it is one of the risk management mechanisms for crop protection among small-scale farmers.
Minister of Agriculture Given Lubinda said the effects of climate change are real, and Zambia is not excluded from the impact, as it can be readily evidenced by the El NiÃ±o weather phenomenon that was experienced during the 2015/16 farming season.
Mr Lubinda said in a speech read on his behalf by Choma district agriculture coordinator Robert Tembo that insurance firms have provided insurance products for large-scale commercial farmers only, due to the expense involved in the deployment and implementation among small-scale farmers.
â€œAs Government we remain committed to working hand in hand with the private sector through collaborations on projects aimed at improving the livelihoods of small-scale farmers by according them greater access to finances through banks and micro lending institutions, farming inputs and risk reduction and mitigation tools such as insurance.
â€œTherefore, farmersâ€™ access to risk mitigation tools such as insurance, proper farming techniques and other extension services is vital to ensuring that when adverse events occur, small-scale farmers are not left out entirely. It is therefore necessary to ensure that we put in place platforms that will give farmers easy access to financial services and insurance which ensure their sustained livelihoods,â€ he said during the insurance pay-out event in Batoka last week.
Mayfair Insurance Company Limited, in partnership with Musika developed a pilot project which covered selected farmers that participated in the Farmer Input Support Programme electronic-voucher pilot programme under the weather index insurance.
Earlier, Musika managing director Reuben Banda said to ensure smallholders benefit from being actively engaged in improved markets, Musika seeks sustainable solutions to external factors affecting production such as weather, and how this can be mitigated to the greatest extent possible.
â€œTogether with our partners, we have embarked on the need to raise awareness and encourage the adoption of climate-smart agricultural products, technologies and practices that can increase smallholder resilience,â€ he said.
Mayfair manager for agriculture specialties Humphrey Mulele said there has been need to come up with insurance products aimed at mitigating climate change effects among the farming communities.
KELLY NJOMBO, Lusaka