Sensitizes farmers across states
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
As losses and risks continue to bedevil the agricultural sector, the Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation, NAIC, Monday, assured that farmers insured will receive payment of claims.
This was stated by the Deputy General Manager, Technical, NAIC, Bashir Martins while answering questions from journalists at a one day ‘Agricultural Insurance Sensitization Workshop’ for Farmers in the Federal Capital Territory.
Martins also explained that the essence of the sensitization is to let the farmers known and understand exactly what NAIC does, the importance of insurance, and make them understand how insurance works, how they can access NAIC products and services, processing their claims, and what they need.
He further stated that is to know farmers’ challenges as it concerns insurance as well as the expectation of NAIC, which the corporation does not lay claim to doing it 100 per cent, but is trying, and will keep improving on what they do.
He said: “But we believe that it takes two to tangle-the contract is between NAIC and the respective farmers, we need to let them know what is an insurance contract, and what is expected of them and they should, in turn, know what is expected from us.
“Agribusiness is evolving fast and so many risks are being thrown up, many new participants are coming into the business of agriculture, and the risks are on the increase if you look at them across the value chain there is no so many participants so we need to keep sensitizing the farmers and let them know we are serving them, and we need to know from them on how to serve them.
“Our assurance to farmers is that when they are insured and they suffered for any of the products insured including natural disasters and whatever they will get paid for their losses, and that is the purpose of insurance and setting up NAIC. Our motor is ‘Plowing the Farmer Back to Business, Plowing the Farmers into Prosperity’, and we settle claims.”
According to him NAIC currently deals with thousands of farmers (Small, Medium, and Large scale farmers) across the country, which NAIC serves farmers with investment as little as N100, 000, and at the same time serves multinational farmers. In terms of reach out to farmers, it cuts across.
“The response of farmers has been fantastic because they have realized that every business needs insurance, and agric too is a business, and we see it as a business and there is risk in all that we do.
“What we preach to farmers is that in NAIC, the Nigerian Insurance Act made it mandatory for some farmers to insure especially when their farming activities are linked to some credit facilities by the banks or financial institutions and government intervention programme.
“There is need to insure their business, and we have been preaching that not only when there is a link with any form of credit they can insure, but insurance is also there for all these businesses as long as they do agribusinesses it is their right, duty, responsibility to protect their investment in the farm irrespective of lending or any credit facilities by their banks.
“And this is what we try to preach, and for those that have their insurances introduced to NAIC like by the banks and lending institutions, and we try to let them appreciate that the bank will pick up agric insurance because they believe that it supports the projects entirely, and the farmers too should see it as their own business cannot stand aside”, he said.
He also added that the Corporation has products across the value chains including pre-farming activities, production activities, post-harvest activities-warehousing, transit risks, processing risks, harvest-to the table there are risks involved in all these areas as a produce buyer, processor, storage, transit, growing of the crop, seeds, fertilizers, and other inputs, and of all these risks there are products that take care of them.
However, the Deputy General Manager, General Business and Enterprise Risk Management, NAIC, Innocent Ogbu, said the response to insurance from farmers has not been encouraging.
Ogbu said: “The response of small and medium enterprises varies with farmers in this class. Those in small scale farming feel why they should pay N2000 or N5000, which makes the response very slow. The major responses we are getting is through the banks that are on farming loans tied to agriculture. More or less is like a forced response because they took a loan from the bank and the bank wants them to insure the loan.
“The medium and large scale farmers are doing better than the small-scale farmers because they are enlightened and understand which makes their response better. We are reaching out to farmers across the country to sensitise them to see why they should insure their agribusiness.”
He also added that they have inertia to pay, and called on state governments to pay for their farmers in order to protect their farming activities.
Meanwhile, he disclosed that the corporation pays claims to the tune of about N1 billion in 2019 and that 2020 may surpass 2019.
One of the farmers in Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC, of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Hon Justice El Fonjang, appreciated the sentisation of farmers to see the need to insure their farms with the information they have received from NAIC and how to access them in helping them be in business.