The Federal Government, in collaboration with the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), on Monday, November 20, 107 launched an evidence-based insurance development roadmap to accommodate smallholder farmers in the country.
Dr Bukar Hassan, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, launched the roadmap in Abuja.
Hassan said that the roadmap was apt because of the devastating impact of climate change on the agriculture sector.
Hassan, who was represented by Mr Sunday Edibo, the Director, Lands and Climate Change in the ministry, said that the move was to promote food security and nutrition in the country.
According to him, the launch of the roadmap document will strengthen the role of the insurance industry in the country’s agricultural resilience policy via improved data management and sharing.
“To ensure food security, farmers should insure their crops and obtain some financial support in the event of the occurrence of any disaster,’’ he said.
Dr James Hansen, the Flagship Leader for the Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), said that the roadmap document was to support the country in efforts to build a robust agriculture resilience that could cope with shocks and stress of climate change.
Hansen said that the roadmap would help the government and insurance sector to take steps that would guarantee the provision of more useful, better targeted and accessible insurance to more farmers.
According to him, this is something that will encourage stakeholders to invest in smallholder agriculture.
“This is to support Nigeria’s efforts to transform its agriculture from subsistence to business-oriented agriculture.
“One of the things that make this transformation difficult is the risk caused by climate change, while farmers may also find it difficult to adopt the technology if there is flood or drought.
“It is high time we stopped preaching improved seeds and fertilisers and look at insurance. If you give a farmer a loan and there are risks such as flood and drought in the business, he may not be able to repay the loan.
“The scheme is not just to provide compensation when there is a risk but it will also enable farmers to go into more profitable agriculture,’’ he said.
Dr Debisi Araba, the Director, Africa Region of the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture, said that the roadmap document would form part of the revised edition of the National Agricultural Resilience Framework (NARF).
He said that the NARF was Nigeria’s strategy aimed at building resilience in the agricultural sector.
“It is not enough to increase productivity but you have to build resilience to ensure proper agricultural transformation,’’ he said.
Araba said that the document was formulated after due consultations with smallholder farmers in different states and other stakeholders in the agriculture sector.
“We need to ensure that agriculture thrives in a low-risk environment. Insurance forms part of the tools that will enable us to reduce risks perception and actual risks in the agriculture sector,’’ he added.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the production of the roadmap document was the outcome of a consultative dialogue between the Federal Government and the CGIAR in 2014.
NAN also recalls that the document was articulated as a result of the proposed major expansion of agricultural insurance by the Federal Government.
The document is to guide the plans of the government and insurance operators to fashion out ways of accommodating more smallholder farmers in the country’s insurance policies.