Agricultural insurance fails to attract farmers in Far Western


Godavari (Kailali): The agricultural insurance scheme in Sudurpaschim Province has faced a host of challenges to attract farmers. Lack of awareness among farmers on the benefits of the scheme has been blamed as a significant challenge.    
Despite the government bearing the entire premium cost (80 percent by the federal government and 20 percent by the province), the number of insured farmers has not seen a substantial increase. According to Chief of the Nepal Insurance Authority, Sudurpaschim Province Office Dhangadhi, Hridaya Raj Pandit, as of mid-January in the current fiscal year 2023-24, only 2,314 insurance reference numbers were issued in the province. The nationwide number of farmers enrolled in the agricultural insurance stands at 70,772.    
The Office launched publicity programmes through FM radios in nine districts and conducted local-level interactions to promote the indemnity scheme. Despite these efforts, the result is slow off the mark. To enroll in the scheme, farmers are required to pay a nominal fee of Rs 500.    
In specific districts, the enrollment figures are notably low, with no farmers participating in Darchula while the number is 365 in Kanchanpur, 290 in Achham, 253 in Dadeldhura, 85 in Bajhang, 82 in Doti, 29 in Bajura, and 20 in Baitadi districts.    
Several factors have been identified as contributors to the low participation, including the inability of insurance agents to reach remote villages, farmers' reluctance, external influencing factors, and delays in premium payments to insurance companies.    
The authorized companies facilitating agricultural insurance in the province include Nepal Insurance Company (Kanchanpur, Dadeldhura, Baitadi, and Darchula), National Beema Company (Kailali, Doti, and Bajhang), and Ajod Insurance Company (Achham and Bajura).