GraceKennedy, CCRIF signal readiness to introduce regional agriculture insurance

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Since taking office, the People’s Progressive Party government has been working with its regional partners to strengthen its disaster readiness and recovery plan as climate change continues to pose a threat to various productive sectors across the region.

The need for agriculture insurance has become more critical as governments are usually responsible for providing the resources to support affected groups in the aftermath of natural disasters.

CARICOM Member States, since the establishment of the Ministerial Taskforce (MTF) by President Dr Irfaan Ali, have been working towards the establishment of a sustainable agriculture insurance plan.

During the 8th CARICOM Ministerial Taskforce meeting on Friday, regional officials discussed the progress made in establishing sustainable agriculture insurance products in vulnerable member states.

The Taskforce, through its Agriculture Insurance Technical working group, has been engaging various regional financial institutions on how a regional insurance product can be developed and introduced in the Member States.

During the meeting on Friday, Shaun Bough, Programme Manager, Agricultural and Agro-Industrial Development at the CARICOM Secretariat disclosed that the Taskforce recently met with representatives of GraceKennedy Limited, one of the Caribbean’s largest and most dynamic food and financial corporate entities, to discuss the progress made thus far with developing and implementing the regional product.

“They have indicated that they have now been able to put a dedicated project team to get this product up and running and that they are near completion of negotiating with their reinsurance to carry the product. They have also submitted an implementation work plan and programme to which they have committed to. All in all, it amounts to a possible product being introduced by the first half of 2023,” Bough said.

Additionally, Bough indicated that the Taskforce’s technical working group has also engaged the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF).

“The technical working group also met with them recently and they indicated that they are prepared to launch their Livelihood Protection Policy in December 2022. They’ve also indicated that their insurance partner will be Garden Insurance Group Limited and that they identified Belize, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago as countries to launch the pilot for the product. This product is also intended to be up and running by the first half of 2023,” he noted.

Over the last ten years, more and more small island developing states within CARICOM have been devastatingly affected by the impacts of climate change. Within the last decade, there have been increased instances of flooding, drought, and volcanic eruptions which have resulted in many economies in the region being adversely affected.

Last year, Guyana experienced one of the most devastating floods in the country’s history which left almost 90% of the country’s agriculture sector completely destroyed.

Other countries like Suriname, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago have also suffered from natural disasters as a result of climate change. (Modified press release from the Ministry of Agriculture)

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