Agriculture insurance can address problem of food insecurity)

ISLAMABAD: A sound insurance system can strengthen the agriculture sector of country and address the menace of food insecurity in Pakistan, an expert said.

Government as well as private sector should take steps to provide protection to life, health and assets of rural people, said Mian Akram Shahid.

Farmers could be saved from impact of disease, viruses, drought, flood, insects, natural disasters, weather, rains and other risks, he said while speaking at a forum organised by the Pakistan Economy Watch.

Shahid said that agricultural yields could go up by 25-30 per cent if cultivators try improved methods which are also covered. Similarly, Pakistan can have a better livestock yields if proper steps are taken.

Insurance companies need to be encouraged to offer wide range of schemes including crop yield insurance and crop revenue insurance, he said. Some issued impinging on commercial insurers must be tackled.

There should be a mechanism in place to provide training to companies in the area of agricultural risk management and to equip them to identify opportunities and develop products that help mitigate risks, he demanded

Mian Akram Shahid, who is also President of United International Group, said that there is a need to build the capacity of the institutions by providing the knowledge and skills required to design, price and implement agricultural insurance programmes.

Insurance does not and cannot obliterate risk, it spreads risk, he said adding that agri insurance alone was not enough to solve the problems of growers. It is also important to provide farmers with good agricultural practices and services that allow them to improve productivity.

He advised farmers to try to produce more than one product to avoid dependence on the production and price of one product. Diversification is a simple way to avoid some risks, he said.

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