Crop insurance scheme appears to have failed to rescue farmers in distress

For any crop loss, an average farmer gets back just Rs. 1,500

August 14, 2015 12:00 am | Updated March 29, 2016 03:10 pm IST - Hassan:

Potato growers in Hassan have lost hopes of getting good returns this year owing to late blight disease.— Photo: Prakash Hassan

Potato growers in Hassan have lost hopes of getting good returns this year owing to late blight disease.— Photo: Prakash Hassan

The weather-based crop insurance scheme does not seem to have come to the rescue of farmers, who suffered losses in potato cultivation in Hassan last year. Of the total Rs. 7.03 crore paid as premium to the insurance company, the farmers could claim only Rs. 1.67 crore.

As many as 25 farmers of Hassan have committed suicide since April this year. A majority of them were potato growers, who suffered losses due to late blight disease. Last year, the government insisted that farmers go for weather-based insurance scheme, assuring that it would help them in times of crop loss.

As many as 10,676 growers paid the premium to avail themselves of the benefits of the insurance scheme. As per the data obtained from T. Ramachandraiah, Joint Director of Agriculture Department, the total premium paid by farmers in 2014 was Rs. 3.51 crore. An equal amount was contributed by the government as subsidy.

Altogether, Rs. 7.03 crore was paid as premium to cover 8,228.4 ha of land to the Agriculture Insurance Company of India. The insured amount was Rs. 58.06 crore. As many as 10,698 farmers, in return, got Rs. 1.67 crore in the form of claims. On an average, each farmer got around Rs. 1,500.

“The weather-based insurance scheme does not help the farmer,” commented B.R. Satyanarayana, a farmer and member of Hassan Zilla Panchayat. Under this scheme, a hobli is treated as one unit. “Even if a farmer has lost the crop entirely, his chances of getting the benefit are very less. If a vehicle owner insures his vehicle and meets with an accident or loses his vehicle, he won’t commit suicide. The insurance company will take care of the vehicle. Why not the same standard be followed in the case of agricultural sector?” he asked.

The insurance company made a profit of nearly Rs. 5.3 crore by insuring potato in Hassan district. Farmers paid the premium because the government insisted on it. “One of my friends took crop loan from a commercial bank. The bank was not prepared to sanction the loan till he agreed to insure his crop. The government’s policies help the company earn profit at the cost of poor farmers,” he alleged. However, this year, the State government has not notified insurance for potato in Hassan. Mr. Ramachandraiah said, the government had not announced the scheme for potato. “We have not collected premium this year as there is no insurance cover,” he added.

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