The Federal Government in collaboration with the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) has launched an evidence-based insurance development roadmap for the agricultural sector particularly for small holder farmers in the country.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Bukar Hassan, while launching the roadmap in Abuja, said the roadmap was necessary now that the impact of climate change was taking a toll on the agriculture sector.
The Permanent Secretary stated that “This is coming at no other time than now that the challenge of climate change has become impactful particularly to the agricultural sector and most especially to the small holder farmers in the country.
Dr. Hassan who was represented by the Director, Lands and Climate Change in the Ministry, Engineer Sunday Edibo said the initiative was aimed at ensuring food security and nutrition in the country.
According to him, “The launch of the roadmap document will strengthen the role of insurance in the country’s agricultural resilience policy through improved data management and sharing, building awareness among farmers and the financial sector to support new insurance and financial packages for farmers”.
The Permanent Secretary commended the collaborative efforts of the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), consultative group on International Agricultural Research (CIGIAR) on research program and the Ministry.
Dr. Hassan urged farmers to insure their crops and obtain some financial support in the event of the occurrence of any disaster.
The Flagship Leader for the Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), Dr. James Hansen in his presentation said the roadmap document was to support the country to build a robust agriculture resilience to cope with shocks and stress of climate change.
Hansen said the roadmap was a step towards helping the government and insurance sector to take steps that would guarantee more useful, better targeted and accessible insurance to more farmers and would encourage stakeholders to invest in small holder agriculture.
“This is in supporting Nigeria to transform its agriculture from subsistence to business oriented. One of the things that make this transformation difficult is risk caused by climate change and farmers also find it difficult to adopt the technology if there is flood and drought. It is high time we stop preaching improved seeds and fertilizers and look at insurance. If you give a farmer loans and there is a risk such as flood and drought in the business, he may not be able to repay the loans. It is not just to provide compensation when there is a risk but this will enable farmers to transform into more profitable agriculture”, Dr. Hansen stated.
The Director, Africa Region of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Dr. Debisi Araba, said that the roadmap document would form part of the revised edition of the National Agricultural Resilience Framework (NARF) which is Nigeria’s roadmap strategy to build resilience in the agricultural sector.
He stated that “it is not enough to increase productivity but you have to build resilience to ensure proper agricultural transformation”.
Dr. Araba said the roadmap document was designed after due consultations with small holder farmers in different states and other stakeholders in the agriculture sector.
It would be recalled that the formulation of the document was an outcome of a consultative process between the Federal Government and the CGIAR research program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security in 2014 as a result of the proposed major expansion of agricultural insurance by the Federal Government.
The document is a contribution to the National Agricultural Resilience Framework (NARF) and to expand insurance coverage for Nigeria’s agricultural sector including its smallholder farming population.