India has set an ambitious goal to become a $5tn economy by 2025, and the agriculture sector will have to play a major role to play to achieve this target. Agriculture is the primary source of livelihood for about 58% of the country’s population, and the gross value added by agriculture, forestry and fishing is estimated at $271bn in 2018. With global warming, droughts and natural calamities in several Indian states in the past few years have fuelled agrarian distress though some regions saw higher output. Overall, the sector grew marginally in value because of lower prices.
With 65% of the underprivileged working in farms, agriculture insurance is vital for a country like India where most farming is small scaled and marginal with low savings that reduces their ability to weather agricultural risks and fluctuations. Climate change and global warming are the reality of our times and here to stay, so there is greater urgency today for crop insurance schemes which can protect farmers from poor yields. PMFBY was a game changer, but the scheme must still iron out some rough edges. Changes must be made to ensure small farmers are protected by long-term insurance cover with low premiums, and the charge of profiteering by insurers must be put to rest and they must be seen as protectors of the poor and vulnerable.
The 6th Asia Agriculture Insurance Conference is returning in full force this year with an emphasis on addressing the major issues and challenges in implementing agriculture insurance schemes, and also throwing light on regional growth opportunities in the agriculture sector in Asia. What is the market forecast for agriculture insurance from 2019-2022? This two-day will also be exploring the PMFBY Scheme since its implementation, the adaptability, achievements and setbacks from key players from the regional global agriculture insurance market.
The conference will draw lessons from across the world to see if there is indeed a sustainable insurance solution for farmers, be it parametric or indemnity-based with a view to closing the agriculture insurance gap of $8-15bn with an insured value of $60-$80bn.