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Chuks Udo Okonta
Farmers in the country have expressed concern over the withholding of insurance premiums by some banks, a development they considered inimical to the growth of the agriculture business.
The National Deputy President, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Segun Atho, who raised the concern at the ongoing Africa Re and International Finance Corporation (IFC) agriculture insurance workshop in Lagos, noted that some banks do slow down the growth of agriculture business by withholding insurance premiums deducted from credits granted to famers.
He implored insurers to do more in engaging farmers, especially by visiting their farm sites, which according to him would enable insurers obtain first hand knowledge of challenges faced by farmers.
He also called on insurers to develop products that meet the general needs of farmers, stressing that farmers will be willing to purchase products that attend to their needs.
The Executive Officer of Sanu Agrovet Services, Dr. Crowther Sanu, said for agricultural insurance to be perfect in Nigeria, banks should remitted premium immediately to insurers, insurers should go for farms identification/monitoring to identify genuine insured farmers and their locations, list of insured genuine farmers should be submitted immediately to the insurers and farmers should adhere to good agronomical practice.
He also maintained that as a way forward, community association executives, should be doing the right things, by giving genuine farmers inputs, and stop playing politics with the anchor borrower programme, stop selling the inputs and give farmers inputs at the right time.
He called on government extension agents to assist farmers, commodity association executives should stop exploiting farmers by giving them necessary high estimated production cost, adding that commodity associations should be sincere in reporting genuine claims and insurers should be paying claims in time to enable farmers smile.
Sanu posited that prompt payment of claims would enable famers repay their loans to the banks, thereby leading to increased food production; increased Gross Domestic Product (GDP); food security; job creation and the security of citizens guaranteed.