They also said they were not aware of the government’s plan to increase the number of crop producers who were insured across the country
The Managing Director of the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending, Aliyu Abdulhameed, had announced on Wednesday that the Federal Government had plans to increase the number of farmers covered under the scheme from 500,000 to 3.8 million.
However, the stakeholders, who are the target beneficiaries told SUNDAY PUNCH correspondents across the country on Friday that the attitude of the government towards the marauding herdsmen would not encourage them to embrace the scheme
The President, Nigeria Cassava Growers Association, a body that has millions of cassava farmers as members, Mr. Segun Adewumi, told one of our correspondents that the NCGA was not aware of any plan by government to provide insurance cover for farmers.
He said, “We are not aware of that. I’ve not been informed. Maybe they are in the process of informing us but as we speak right now, we have not been told anything like that.”
On what he thinks about the idea, Adewumi said, “It depends on what the insurance package is for. It may be a programme for those who take facility from NIRSAL because we are not aware of it.”
The Chairman, Lagos State chapter of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Chief Femi Oke, also said AFAN had not been informed about the insurance policy.
Oke added, “We are not aware of such plan for now. Increasing the number of farmers that will have insurance coverage to about 3.8 million means that more farmers will be insured and this will definitely impact positively on the activities of farmers in Nigeria.”
The owner of Special Royal Farms in Obbo-ile, in the Ekiti Local Government Area of Kwara State, Vice-Admiral Samuel Afolayan, decried the programme, saying it did not include the input of stakeholders.
Afolayan, who is a former Chief of Naval Staff said, “For policies and programmes to work effectively and achieve the desired objective, inputs from professionals and operators in the sector are inevitable.”
The ex-naval chief lamented that he had not received any succour or palliative from the government since his farm was burnt by herdsmen.
The Chairman, Taraba State chapter of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Abdulhaman Beyams, said the scheme was strange to his members
Beyams, who is also the Special Adviser to the Taraba State Governor on Farmers Relations, said most of the Federal Government policies were not properly communicated to the target people.
“I am surprised to hear that such an insurance coverage exists for farmers in the country. As a state chairman of AFAN, I am not aware of such an insurance policy for farmers,” he said.
Also, the Chairman, Taraba State chapter of the National Association of Yam Farmers, Processors and Marketers of Nigeria, Mr. Jeremiah Tyolanga, said he was not aware of the policy, but said it would be meaningless if it wouldn’t cover destruction caused by herdsmen.
Benue State chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Kulu Ohembe, confirmed knowledge of the policy but said the premium covered only the natural damages incurred on the farm and not the deliberate destructions by herdsmen.
“We are required to pay premium which will be used in the event of disasters like fire outbreak, drought, flood and other natural disasters, but not on intentional disasters,” he added.
Ohembe said his group had started negotiating with the Federal Government that the coverage should include losses incurred as a result of herdsmen attacks.
He said, “The insurance cover, as it is currently arranged, cannot solve the constant clashes between farmers and herdsmen because the losses resulting from these clashes are not natural disasters.
“We therefore appeal to the agency in charge to ensure that the issue of herdsmen and farmers’ clashes is considered as part of the losses covered by the insurance policy, especially for us in Benue that always have this problem.”