A STUDY conducted by ActionAid Nigeria, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) has faulted farmers’ poor access to Federal Government insurance services initiated by the Nigeria Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC).
The study conducted on 224 smallholder women farmers group from eight states – Bauchi, Delta, Ebonyi, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Kogi, Kwara and Ondo was to verify the effectiveness of the insurance service from 2014 to 2018.
Findings from the study released at the weekend in Abuja showed that most of the farmers were excluded from the insurance supports, except for some in Kogi State.
As key government insurance provider for the agriculture sector, NAIC is expected to protect farmers from natural risks such as flood, storm, drought, pest and diseases.
Among its objectives is to promote agricultural productions, access to credit and reduce dependence on government’s ad-hoc supports.
It has the element of subsidy such that farmers and the government at both state and federal levels share the charged premium.
In this case, the farmer pays 50 per cent of the insurance premium while federal and state governments pay 37.5 per cent and 12.5 per cent respectively.
On the contrary, the farmers pay 100 per cent of the charged premium, the study revealed.
Azubuike Nwokoye, Food and Agriculture Coordinator for ActionAid, speaking on the study said data was collected from the final users of the agricultural insurance services.
The questions, he said were directed at leaderships of various farmers’ cooperatives as well as smaller groups at community units across the three senatorial districts in each of the states under study.
“All the 224 representatives from the cooperatives and groups at the states and national levels indicated that they were not involved at all in the design of government agricultural insurance scheme before its commencement in Nigeria.”
The farmers also complained of not getting benefits when they suffer losses on the farm.
The study, however, recommends an aggressive execution of awareness creation within rural communities in the country.
Both state and federal governments were tasked to ensure prompt remittances of their counterpart funds to NAIC.
Also, the study advises for prompt payment of compensation to individual women farmers who have suffered losses, to build trust and confidence among the farmers.
It added that there is a need to use local dialects by agents of governments in the effective communication of agricultural insurance education among smallholder farmers.
Laraba Gashau, NAIC’s representative acknowledged the findings but disclosed new efforts of the commission on awareness creation about agricultural insurance services.
Gashau said new employees are being engaged to bridge the workforce gap.
She added that once it was time to pay premiums, the corporation always reaches out to the affected farmers through their cooperative heads. However, she disclosed plans to switch strategy by directly contacting the affected farmers, unlike the previous approach.
“We are very aware that the level of awareness is very low. So, we have been going on the radio for more awareness creation,” Gashau said.