ISLAMABAD: The federal Minister for food and agriculture, Nazar Muhammad Gondal, has said that the National Crop Insurance Scheme (NCIS) has started functioning but a majority of the farmers are not aware of the scheme.
He stressed that the scheme must be properly publicised so that the farming community could become aware of it and benefit from it.
The minister was chairing a meeting of officials of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and insurance companies at the ministry on Monday.
He said the government has launched the National Crop Insurance Scheme and the criteria for assessment are simple and transparent. The government will pay premium to small farmers, he said.
Gondal said that provinces should be taken on board and awareness of the scheme must be enhanced.
He said that crop insurance is in vogue all over the world and this scheme is for the welfare of farmers in the country.
“We appreciate the efforts of the task force constituted by the State Bank and hope that it continues to refine and improve the scheme so that it proves to be a sustainable and socially and economically viable programme.
“Provinces must be taken on board and included in the task force to make the scheme a true success,” said the minister.
SBP Governor Salim Raza made a detailed presentation to the minister and officials of the ministry.
The insurance provides financial support to the farmers in the event of failure of any insured crop as a result of natural calamities, pest attacks and diseases.
The Crop Loan Insurance Scheme was implemented in 2008. Agricultural loans disbursements so far are worth Rs168 billion, crop production loan Rs105.219 billion while the potential premium is Rs4.208 billion.
The government has approved a subsidy of Rs2 billion based on the above figures. A total of Rs77 million have been paid to the farmers so far on account of losses in different areas.
Published in the Express Tribune, June 1st, 2010.