Friday, December 14, 2012

Weather extremes push Sri Lanka to adopt crop insurance

Amantha Perera in AlertNet: Sri Lanka plans to offer a national crop insurance scheme to help farmers cope with increasingly severe and disruptive weather and resulting crop losses. In presenting the national budget for 2013 recently, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said the government was moving toward ways of managing long-term severe weather events, particularly worsening drought.

“In the future, the economic losses of drought must be managed in a more meaningful manner. Therefore, I propose to implement a crop insurance scheme for all farmers,” he said.

This is the first occasion that such a scheme has been put in place. Officials said funds of around $1 million (Rs 1000m) will be set aside for the project through a National Insurance Trust Fund. The money would come from compulsory contributions from banking, financial and insurance companies. Farmers who benefit from a fertilizer subsidy scheme will also have to make a contribution of around one dollar (Rs 150) for every 50kg of fertilizer they draw under the subsidy scheme. Rajapaksa said that at least 100,000 farmers will benefit from the project if they lose their crops.

The new scheme comes in the wake of an eight month drought that has hurt the country’s staple rice production. The drought was broken during the last week of October – but by flash flooding brought on by Cyclone Nisha, which killed 10 people, damaged over 5,000 homes and left 200,000 people affected, according to the government’s Disaster Management Centre....

A pastoral scene in Sri Lanka, shot by Hash Milhan, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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