The insurance scheme for coconut trees remains unattractive for farmers owing to conditions laid down for claims.
Enquiries reveal that only a few farmers in Thanjavur district made enquiries with the Agricultural Department about the scheme after Cyclone Gaja. But the interest shown towards the scheme remained at the enquiry level as none of them applied for coconut insurance policy.
The insurance scheme cover loss due to the following perils leading to death or loss of trees or the trees becoming unproductive due to (i) storm, hailstorm, cyclone, tornado, heavy rain, (ii) flood and inundation (iii) pest and diseases of widespread nature causing irreparable damage (iv) accidental fire, including forest fire and bush fire, lightning (v) earthquake, landslip and tsunami (vi) severe drought and consequential total loss.
Healthy nut-bearing trees of all varieties - tall, dwarf and hybrids grown as mono or intercropped on farms or home with dwarf and hybrid varieties aged from 4 years to 60 years and tall variety between 7 to 60 years are eligible for coverage.
A maximum of 175 trees can be insured in a hectare and unhealthy and senile crop will not qualify for coverage. While the sum insured per tree in the age group of 4 to 16 is ₹900, and in the age group of 16 to 60 is ₹1,750, the insurance premium for the first category is ₹9 per year per plant and ₹14 per year per plant for the second category.
However, farmers have to remit ₹2.25 per year per plant for the crop in the age group of 4 to 16 and ₹3.50 per year per plant for the second category as insurance premium as the remaining premium amount would be borne by the Coconut Development Board and the State government.
V.Veerasenan, president, Nasuvini Riverbed Dam Farmers Development Association, Ponnavaroyankottai near Pattukottai, reasoned that the compensation offered under the insurance scheme was paltry and the conditions laid down for availing it were unacceptable to farmers.
Fixing the compensation at two slabs of ₹900 and ₹1,750 per tree would in no way bring solace to the farmers, he said. “The insurance company prefers to entertain the compensation claim only if the entire grove gets affected or annihilated and tries to dismiss the claim proposal citing unacceptable reasons,” he said.
Further, an order issued in favour of a farmer by the Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Tiruvarur district, with respect to a dispute over the coconut trees insurance claim in the year 2018, just a few months before Cyclone Gaja, was yet to be honoured by the insurance company as it had gone on appeal, he said.