Facing worsening climate conditions, Guyanese farmers to benefit from crop insurance this year

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Guyanese farmers, many of whom faced major losses due to floods in 2021 as climate conditions worsened across the world, will soon benefit from crop insurance that deals specifically with the agriculture sector.

The Guyana government has already engaged a regional company – Grace Kennedy – to provide the service seen as a major step towards de-risking of the sector.

Reporting to the Parliamentary Economic Services Committee earlier this week, subject Minister Zulfikar Mustapha said Grace Kennedy was a reputable company and he was particularly happy that they are looking to offer this service to Guyanese farmers.

A pilot project was started by Grace Kennedy in Jamaica and Mustapha said he is satisfied that it is working well there and can be replicated here.

Tractors deployed at Babu John, Port Mourant, to help drain the floodwaters off of the land (Photo: Yusuf Ali/ June 12, 2021)

“I am optimistic that we can have something like this for our farmers in Guyana because insurance companies around the world don’t want to get into insuring farms because in disaster-prone areas this may not be profitable,” Mustapha told the parliamentary committee.

The crop insurance will be purchased by agricultural producers, including farmers, ranchers and others to protect against either the loss of their crops due to natural disasters, or the loss of revenue due to declines in the prices of agricultural commodities.

Usually, there are two major types of crop insurance: multiple peril crop insurance (MPCI) and crop-hail insurance.

The Agriculture Minister said the government was aggressively pursuing the idea and hopes to get it for Guyanese farmers by the second quarter of 2022.

“The process has commenced, actions are ongoing and the Ministerial Task Force has set itself a deadline for implementation of key elements of this programme,” the agriculture minister further explained.

Mustapha said he has been engaging farmers all across the country and they welcome the initiative.

“Farmers are eager, they are looking forward to something like this because this here will protect them.”

Although the insurance will be given across the board to all crops and farmers there are some identified commodities that will benefit in the first instance, followed by others.

Meanwhile, Minister of Public Works Juan Edghill who is also a member of the parliamentary sectoral committee commended the gesture by agriculture officials across the CARICOM region.

“This will take a big burden off governments to deal with it because of climate conditions,” Edghill said.

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