NAICOM, insurers, farmers laud Africa Re, IFC on contributions to agric business

Cross section of participants at the event

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Chuks Udo Okonta

Participants to the just concluded African Reinsurance Corporation and International Finance Corporation (IFC) Agriculture Insurance Workshop in Lagos, have poured encomium on the organisations for their contributions toward the growth of agriculture in Nigeria.

The participants who were from different field of endeavours expressed their appreciations in an interview with Inspenonline. They showered praises on the organisers of the programme which ran from Monday December 2, to Friday, December 6, 2019 in FESTAC, Lagos.

According to them, the programme really helped brought to fore all that were needed to take agriculture business to lofty heights.

Head, Licensing & Regulations Insurance/Reinsurance Companies, National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) Mrs. Vera Aimufua, speaking on the programme, said it helped exposed the challenges faced by operators, in terms of index and weather based insurance programmes, stressing that one of the imports of the programme, is that it revealed challenges to be addressed.

She noted that from interactions with delegates from insurance companies, it was observed that supports from the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) still remains inadequate as there is still a lot of gaps to cover.

She posited that to achieve the set objectives in the agric space, the government and underwriters should work closely to ensure underwriters are not be left to burn their fingers, adding that stakeholders need to play the game according to the rules.

While applauding Africa Re and IFC for the programme, she noted that there is need for them to organise more of such for operators to fully educate them on the new class of agric business.

She expressed optimism that the future of agric business underwriting looks bright, whilst aligning with the projection of having cover for over five million farmers in the next two years.

From left: Assistant Manager, underwriting (Agricultural underwriting) Erastus Ochieng; Chief Executive Officer, acre Africa, George Kurla; Regional Director, West Africa Regional Office, Africa Re, Mrs. Funmi Omokhodion; Senior Financial Sector Specialist, International Finance Corporation, Shadreck Makumo and Manager, Underwriting and Marketing, Africa Re. Duncan Mukonyi at the event.

Head, Agriculture Insurance, AIICO Insurance Plc, Leonard Okereafor, said he is optimistic that the potentials in agric sector would be fully harness by underwriters.

He noted that with the lesson obtained from the programme, insurance operators licenced to do agric business will up their games, adding that having knew how farmers and other stakeholders feel, there would not be any room for excuses going forward.

Head, Agribusiness, Royal Exchange Plc, Chukwuma Kalu, posited that the programme was well done, as relevant stakeholders were brought together to share their experiences from their different stand points. “It is really interesting for us to see things from a business stand point. It was a very good forum to educate us on different aspects of risk management and also looking at the real business. The programme helped us understand how products could be designed and finance channeled appropriately.

“I think with the right engagement, we could achieve more. Kudos to the organisers, participants for the ideas that were brought forward. I think we can always get better, as there are a lot of room for improvement,” he said.

He noted that the programme is getting better, as the first round of the programme organised by the IFC was in 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa. According to him, the South Africa event was very technical and meant especially for for insurers, actuarists.

“That programme was not market facing but now we are getting interactions with real market players, policy makers which is real blend of stakeholders. The programme is getting more robust and the engagement more impactful, we need many more of this programme,” he added.

Assistant Director, Industrial and General Insurance, Adebola Tope-Babalola. said: “It has been awesome five days of learning and relearning on the journey to successful agriculture insurance programme in Nigeria. I must thank IFC and Africa Re for organising this platform, as a private underwriter in the agric space, we have learnt quite a lot and our resolve is to take what we have leant back to our offices and do them,” she said.

She maintained that underwriters would be attacking the agriculture insurance as an entity so that the interest of the farmers and the nation would be paramount in all that they do. “We have decided as underwriters to work as a team so that there would not be room for sharp practices that would hinder the full compensation of any farmer that suffered a loss after we have deployed this product to the market,” she said.

She pledged on behalf of her to be committed to making great success in the Agric business space, by giving full coverage to all risk exposures before farmers especially the small scale farmers.

Head, Agric and Micro Insurance Department, Leadway Assurance Limited, Fatona Paul, applauded the organisers of the programme, adding that such a programme would help bring all stakeholders to a single page in meeting the nation’s quest for the development of the agric sector.

He noted that with the knowledge gathered at the programme, insurers are now better prepared for enhance services to farmers in the country.

He called for more of such programmes and also implored all parties in the agric value chain to live up to their responsibilities.

National Deputy President, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, Segun Atho, expressed gratitude to the organisers, whilst calling on insurers to do more engagements with farmers. He urged underwriters to regularly pay visits to farms to enable the have first hand information on how the farmers are faring.

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