The National Agriculture Insurance Scheme (NAIS) launched in April, as a pilot project, will be scaled up to the entire country during the upcoming agricultural season A, an official told The Sunday Times on Friday.
Normally, season A that starts in September and ends with February of the following year.
Jean-Claude Musabyimana, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, said that NAIS started with livestock insurance and, so far, more than 1,000 cows are already insured.
He said: “We started the scheme with livestock insurance and so far, more than a thousand cows are already insured. And we started with a strong sensitization campaign for farmers because it was a new programme,” Musabyimana said.
So far, more than 2,000 hectares of crops, mainly rice, have been insured, he added.
“And in this new season, we are starting with new schemes to expand to other crops and also expand to other districts. The farmer mobilization campaign will also continue. We hope to now expand to all the districts of Rwanda, this coming agricultural season A, 2020.”
Musabyimana said this after the signing of a 10 billion yen loan (approximately US$91 million) from the Japanese government to assist Rwanda’s effort to tackle malnutrition through agricultural transformation.
The agriculture insurance scheme – the country’s first insurance scheme that is specifically dedicated to the agriculture sector – was launched to ease access to finance and credit by farmers, and cushion them against losses induced by disasters or diseases that affect their crops and livestock.
Initially, it was to cover maize and rice farmers as well as cows before being rolled out across the country to cover other crop and livestock types.
The agriculture sector employs more than 70 per cent of Rwandans in the working age group.
NAIS aims to manage risks and losses amongst smallholder farmers and provide insurance coverage, to improve access to financial services and ensure the flow of credit to the sector.
It was to specifically target small-scale farmers allowing them to access finance and credit, thereby increasing the overall productivity at farm level.
It was also meant to ensure the effective use of government subsidies to the sector and provide standard insurance contracts and create employment both at the farm level and along the value chain.
When it started off, the government signed a service level agreement (SLA) with three local insurance companies – SONARWA, PRIME and RADIANT – which agreed to adhere to the overall procedures and implementation guidelines of the scheme.
Farmers in the pilot districts are eligible to benefit from the insurance scheme which is subsidised up to 40 per cent.
Already, some dairy farmers have started getting compensated. Damages covered are those resulting from accidents – such as thunder strikes, snake bites or being knocked down by a car –, as well as diseases.