MVIWATA members set to benefit from crops insurance scheme

About 300 cashew nut farmers based in Masasi district, Mtwara region are expected to benefit from crops insurance scheme under the Farm Risk Management for Africa project.

The project is implemented in three countries including Burkina Faso, Tanzania and Zambia. In Tanzania the project is implemented by the National Network of Farmers Groups in Tanzania (MVIWATA).

Speaking at the Crop Insurance workshop held recently in Morogoro bringing together farmers from Masasi, Kiteto-Manyara, Kongwa-Dodoma regions organized by MVIWATA, Senior Associate from Acre Africa Christopher Mazali said the scheme shall primarily cover cashew nuts farmers from Masasi.

He added that scheme which protects smallholder farmers against adverse weather conditions such as floods or drought, could also cover different farmers including for cashew nuts and maize in areas where the project is implemented.

“The major purpose for issuing insurance to farmers’ crops is to help them have a guarantee of their produce against weather related calamities including drought, floods and strong wind by compensating farmers for yield losses and simultaneously ease access to production finance,” he detailed.

Weather index insurance protects farmers from natural calamities like drought and floods to several crops including cashew nuts, beans, maize, coffee, cotton and paddy.

“The amount of premium that farmers need to pay depends on the total amount of capital that will be invested by farmers groups,” the expert said.

According to him, the insurance come with advantage to farmers to be able to access loans from financial institutions in partnership with the Acre Africa.

For her part, Market Facilitator for MVIWATA Acquiline Wamba said the rationale for the project was to enable African smallholder farmers to better manage farm risks which are prevalent at every stage of the agricultural value chain.

She said that, besides market challenges, farmers were still facing high production risks that are prevalent due to climate change and other natural disasters such floods, drought and occurrence of diseases.

“It is expected that, by using these tools, smallholders will be able to reduce their exposure to downward shocks, improve access to credit and to improve their capacity to invest in agriculture.”

Commenting on the move, Saudi Matonya a maize farmer based in Dodoma, said the scheme was so crucial to farmers as it would help them contain field risks that hinder their gain.

Matonya added that, due to prevalent of weather related risks, most if farmers in Dodoma quit from farming while others shift from Dodoma and move to other regions to farm there, which threatens food security of the region.

For his part, Secretary for farmers’ cooperative at Liwale district, Lindi said the major problem they faced in their activities was the low price for cashew nuts that fluctuate time to time.

“We are welcoming the scheme as we believe it would help us access to loan from financial institutions for our activities, which has been a major hindrance in farming development,” he added.

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