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Agricultural insurance is an effective mechanism for reducing the losses farmers suffer due to natural calamities such as floods, droughts, and outbreaks of pests and diseases. It enables farmers to obtain credit and financing for investment in new technologies, tools, and equipment to enhance and sustain their productive capacity. It also assists farmers in regulating cash flows and provides a financial buffer with which to rehabilitate damaged enterprises. Enhancing the knowledge of those involved in agricultural insurance from both the private and public sectors on its principles, mechanisms, and management is vital. Therefore, the APO organized the seminar on Agricultural Insurance Systems for Small Farmers in India, 24−30 October, in collaboration with the National Productivity Council and Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India. Twenty participants from 11 member countries took part. The APO deputed three international resource speakers: Dr. Jerry Skees, University of Kentucky, USA; Rural Finance Officer Ake Olofsson, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Italy; and Agricultural Risk Management, Insurance and Reinsurance Consultant Charles Stutley, UK.
The seminar consisted of presentations and discussions of resource papers and country papers as well as field visits to the Agricultural Insurance Company of India Limited in New Delhi, Syndicate Bank, and a farm village in Hapur, Uttar Pradesh. Among the 11 participating countries, India, the Philippines, and Iran have highly developed agricultural insurance systems. India has the largest insurance program in the world, insuring 17 million farmers and covering 35 different crops. The countries with no insurance programs are expected to explore the development of their own systems. Participants recommended that the APO organize a follow-up workshop or training course focusing on the use of new technologies like remote sensing and weather-based insurance schemes.