Govt comes up with ‘ill-conceived’ crop insurance scheme

Suhail Bhat
Srinagar, Nov 26: The Government has come up with a crop insurance scheme which doesn’t not cover trees or root stock that usually suffer damages during winters in Kashmir.
The much awaited scheme has been rolled out after the Horticulture sector suffered heavy losses in last two years in the valley.
The insurance cover will be provided to four crops-Mango, Lichi, Saffron and Apple-against weather perils capable of causing significant and quantifiable losses by change in measurable weather parameters. Weather vagaries including all forms of rainfall, variations in temperature, hail storm and cloud burst will be covered.
As per the document, all farmers who have not availed crop loan and are willing to get insurance cover can purchase the insurance through bank, insurance companies and designated agents. A total of 18 insurance companies have been empanelled by the Government and designated for the successful implementation of the scheme. “The scheme shall operate under the principle of area approach for a period of three years,” the document reads.
An official at the Department of Horticulture accused Government of coming up with an ill-conceived crop insurance scheme as it doesn’t not cover the root stock or trees which suffer damage during winters. “It’s the trees which suffer major damages, not crops,” an official said. One of the reason, he said, behind this bad planning is that the people who have know-how of the situation on the ground were not consulted.
As per the Kashmir Valley Growers-cum-Dealers Union the recent snowfall caused a damage of around Rs 75000 crores to the farmers with 80 percent trees suffering damages.
Director Horticulture, Ajaz Bhat, said that Government should extend the cover to the plant as well. “Snow damages apple trees every year and that affects the overall production. Government should consider it,” he said.
The famers lamented that the Government neither sought their suggestions, nor aware them about the scheme, “who will tell us about it? If the Government is doing it for our benefit why are we unaware about it,” an Apple growers from South Kashmir’s Shopian Said.