Shefali Begum is a housewife of Raniganj union in Chilmari upazila of Kurigram. Every year when there is a flood, her family has to leave home and take shelter on the streets. Even during last year's floods, they had been living on the railway tracks for eight days. There was no tubewell and no toilet. Agricultural land has also been submerged in the floods.
Sufia Begum of Heliboard area of Raniganj union of Chilmari upazila of Kurigram took refuge with her family on the highlands of the area after their homes were inundated in the floods. Hundreds of families like them took refuge here in the floods. At that time there was a severe shortage of clean water and sanitation facilities. But beyond everything, the crops went under water.
Climate experts say that if agricultural insurance is popularised, farmers will get compensation from insurance even if they are affected by climate change. With this money they will be able to replant their crops and overcome the damage.
Experts say many farmers will become self-sufficient by getting insurance premiums from the relief provided by the government every year. It will become popular when farmers get the benefit of this insurance only if the government provides assistance for a few years. Then the farmer will be interested in this type of insurance.
Ainun Nishat, climate expert and emeritus professor at BRAC University, told Prothom Alo that the agricultural sector suffered the most last year due to abnormal weather conditions. This time too, the impact of climate and climate change must be kept in mind in all plans, including agriculture and development. In this case, farmers can be protected through agricultural insurance.
Global experts working on climate change say that farmers are no longer able to become self-sufficient if they are affected by climate change. At one time they were forced to leave the agricultural profession and move to other professions. If agricultural insurance is introduced, they will be able to face climate-related disasters when they receive compensation. Once the disaster is over, they can resume agricultural cultivation which will play a role in agriculture and economy in the long run.
In 2017, a total of 5.25 million tonnes of crops were damaged in the haors due to early and normal floods. This amounts to Tk 30.46 billion in financial terms. Relief, cash assistance, incentives and other assistance are being provided to the farmers of haors for early and normal floods, heavy rains and hill slopes.
Agricultural insurance has been introduced in India for many years. According to Indian media, 290 million farmers in India are now covered by crop insurance. The information was released by the country's agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar on 14 January at a function marking the fifth anniversary of the initiative.
Agriculture minister Narendra Singh said crop insurance is the only protection for farmers. This insurance helps in overcoming the loss of crops due to natural calamities. In the last five years, the government has paid Rs 900 billion in insurance claims.