A local insurer is seeking to expand its insurance coverage to the agricultural sector, aimed at compensating farmers affected by natural disasters such as drought.
The Namibia Special Risks Insurance Limited (Nasria) said it is still conducting a feasibility study for a local agricultural insurance scheme, with the view of later introducing an insurance product for farmers.
Head of marketing at Nasria Ndapona Schleberger said the feasibility study is aimed at understanding and assessing farmers set up in rural Namibia, their level of understanding related to risks associated with crop losses, their preparedness and contingency
planning in the events of long dry spells, and crops being destroyed due to pests and diseases.
“The product will first focus on the livestock before going in with identified crops,” she said this week.
“This study will also assess the extent to which prescribed insurance products would be attractive and affordable to farmers, evaluate the demand for insurance products in agriculture and gauge how a good, affordable insurance product can be positioned effectively so that it has a better outreach and meets the needs of the farmers.”
Nasria is the only insurer in Namibia that provides cover against damage to property and consequential loss caused by, among others, riots or civil commotion, strikes, lockouts and labour disturbances. Agriculture ministry spokesperson Jona Musheko said over 97 854 livestock have perished during October 2018 and December 2019 as a result of the devastating drought.
Musheko added nearly 60% of the deaths reported are cattle, followed by goats (28%), sheep (11%), while donkeys and horses recorded less than 1%. Head of commodities at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange Raphael Karuaihe noted the envisaged product is aimed at communal and emerging farmers who, on their own, would not take out insurance.
Karuaihe continued that such an initiative by Nasria should be supported so that at the end of the day, Namibia can come up with a product that addresses the needs of local farmers. “If we want to be more inclusive and competitive in the export of agricultural products, this is the way to go. Insurance of this nature should improve farm productivity. I have my doubts if conventional insurance products will ever work out in the Namibian agricultural space purely because of the ever-increasing number of extreme weather events (droughts and floods) in our country,” he said. Spokesperson of the Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) Tanja Dahl said the union is in support of a national disaster insurance scheme to assist farmers with the management of drought and other calamities. Omaheke governor Pijoo Nganate said the insurance product is long overdue, adding farmers are struggling and suffering due to livestock losses.
“Many farmers lost their livestock due to the devastating drought and livestock theft in the region – and with this, many of them will be relaxed and their livelihoods will be going ahead,” said Nganate.
While addressing Omaheke inhabitants in August this year, the governor announced farmers in the region last year suffered losses in excess of N$8.8 million as a result of rampant livestock theft.
Nganate added 339 stock theft cases were reported to the region’s police during the last financial year. - firstname.lastname@example.org