Officials in the agriculture sector yesterday called on relevant stakeholders to scale up initiatives for crop insurance schemes to help Cambodian farmers mitigate the risks of having their fields destroyed by flooding and drought.
Speaking at a workshop organised by German development agency GIZ, Mom Thany, undersecretary of state of Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said enlarging the availability of crop insurance would help secure the livelihoods of small-scale farmers.
“The agricultural sector is most vulnerable to climate change,” she said. “Crop insurance protects farmer’s investments and ensures that even when a harvest fails, farmers have sufficient financial resources to reinvest and cover basic household needs like food and health care.”
Typical crop insurance initiatives that have been piloted in the Kingdom involve rice farmers paying into a scheme at the beginning of the growing season, with payments based on the size of the farm, type of paddy grown and technical tools used. In return, farmers get an insurance payout if their crop is assessed to be damaged by flood or drought.
The Cambodia Center for Study and Development in Agriculture first launched a crop insurance program in 2014, while Forte Insurance started offering services to farmers in 2015.
According to Forte’s figures, the company has so far sold crop insurance policies to 150 farmers and paid out nearly $6,000 worth of premiums.
Sam Vitou, executive director of Cedac, said that the organisation has sold crop insurance policies to 155 farmers in a pilot project that is limited to the provinces of Kampong Speu, Takeo, and Kampong Chhnang.
While he claims that the project has shown how valuable crop insurance is, he hopes the organisation can partner with stakeholders to expand the scheme.
“Right now institutions are separately developing their own programmes while what we need is to have all relevant stakeholders work together to promote the benefits of crop insurance schemes,” he said.
Chea Yoeun, a rice farmer from Battambang province, said that this year he purchased crop insurance to cover one hectare of his eight hectare farm at a cost of $25.
“If this amount of money can make sure that we are repaid when there are damages to our fields, I think more farmers would be willing to pay for insurance,” he said.