by TN Anuradha and Vinaynath Reddy
Earlier this year the seasonal rains in Bihar, India failed to deliver, leading to big losses in both wheat and rice crops. Luckily, some farmers in the area had signed up for a crop insurance scheme which now allowed them to receive their first payment. This scheme has helped some of them get back on track and invest in new seeds.
“We did not have any scheme under crop insurance earlier,” said participating farmer Horil Singh, now “we have benefitted from the scheme. If there is a deficiency in crop yield we will get cover as per index of loss.”
The insurance scheme is part of the Climate Smart Village project (CSVs), being set-up in three villages in the Vaishali district, by the CCAFS South Asia program. The aim is to better arm farmers for more variable weather patterns through climate smart practices. Read more: "What's so smart about climate smart agriculture?"
Climate insurance programs can help farmers manage risks better, enabling them to invest and take chances that they would otherwise avoid. This could in turn improve their livelihood.
Farmers receive insurance payouts for lost and damaged crops:
Offered by the Indian Farmers Fertilizer Co-operative and Tokio General Insurance (IFFCO-Tokio) more than 200 farmers have signed up for the insurance program.
In relation to the insurance payouts, a series of videos were prepared to capture the farmer’s feedback on technological interventions under CCAFS South Asia activities along with the ViDocs Bigg Shift Communications team.
One farmer who joined the payment meeting was impressed with the climate smart village activities during the last season. "With the introduction of short-duration mung-bean variety of Pusa Visal, which was given to us, our income has improved," he told the filming crew.
In another village, the team met a self-help women's group involved in vegetable farming. The members had been receiving information about the climate smart agricultural interventions being introduced to some farmers. Group-member and farmer Mamta Kumari commented that not enough opportunities were given to women but "through various initiatives [of CCAFS], we have received encouragement to do farming on our own. We have taken crop insurance, and have benefited from it," she explained.
Through the many different climate smart activities, such as introducing the mung-bean and distribution of suitable wheat varieties for this region, they all had helped the South Asia program step by step win the farmers' trust. In addition, with intensification of cropping system, farmers of CSVs are not just reaping rich harvests but also get decent profits by producing three different crops in a year.
It is therefore understandable that more and more farmers in the areas are joining the climate smart village activities as the efforts are now paying off.