Farmers in South Africa who have been impacted by water shortages are being helped with drought relief measures. According to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries just over 42 000 farmers have been assisted. 246,631 small, medium and large scale farmers have been affected by the drought. To date, of the total number of farmers that have been assisted, 12,945 are from the North West, 10,670 from Mpumalanga, while 6,689 are from the Eastern Cape. Approximately 89 boreholes have been drilled in some of the provinces, while 29 of those are still dry.
Tourist taxi driver Nur-ul Aslam watches in hopeful silence as drops of rain begin to cloud his windscreen. Last year at this time he was farming rice on his two-hectare farm 40 kilometres northeast of Bali’s airport. But a long spell of dry weather, which has lasted since last July, dried up irrigation channels in his village of Tegal Mengkeb. To survive, the 33-year-old walked away from his farm last December and began driving a taxi in Nusa Dua, a tourist hub with dozens of luxury resorts. He dreams of returning home.
THE Provincial Government of Negros Occidental is allocating anew P1.5 million as additional fund for the insurance coverage of all its agri-fishery projects and programs in partnership with the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC). This is on top of the almost P13.3 million worth of on-farm mechanization program in partnership with the Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Field Office Western Visayas to help farmers lessen farm damage and production losses brought by the persisting heat. The Provincial Board (PB) during its regular session yesterday approved and provided authority to Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. to enter into agreements with partner-agencies for the implementation of these programs.
Farmers in the Northern and Upper East Regions have taken delivery of maize shellers and multicrop threshers to boost their farming operation and reduce post-harvest losses. These were supplied by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under its Agriculture Technology Transfer Project (ATTP). Beneficiary farmers pay 30 per cent of the cost of the machines with USAID taking care of the remaining 70 per cent. Madam Blessing Kamakolam, Grants Manager of Feed the Future – USAID-ATTP, who handed them over at a ceremony in Tamale, said the goal was to significantly increase maize production to enhance food security.
In an attempt to rescue its smallholder farmers who have been frequently exposed to crop failures and drought, Ethiopian government launched a national agriculture insurance that by covers 200,000 farmers this year. Labelled Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), the new scheme uses the same index as that used by national and international agencies to monitor the occurrence of drought. Ethiopian Insurance Corporation plans to venture into rural micro insurance products in order to provide safety nets for low income and sections of the population in Ethiopia.
As margins tighten, farmers look for areas to cut. Politicians are doing the same. Crop insurance has found itself on the table for discussion in both instances. The president administration’s 2017 budget proposal, released in mid-February, proposed reforms that included $18 billion in savings over the next decade from reduced coverage on crop insurance policies and changes to prevented planting coverage. The proposal ruffled some feathers in the House and Senate.
Dairy farmers in the North Rift region have been advised to seek insurance services for their cattle. This is to prevent huge losses in case of diseases outbreak or any other calamity that can lead to death of cattle. Agriculture Principal Secretary said many dairy farmers in North Rift have failed to insure their dairy cattle and have ended up counting huge losses after sudden death of the cows. He said the cows are usually bought expensively besides extra costs of feeding, thus the need to be insured against any natural occurrences such as sudden death or sickness.
Maryland Secretary of Agriculture issued a reminder for local farmers that the sales closing date to purchase crop insurance for spring seeded crops and to make changes to policies is March 15. Spring seeded crops include corn, soybeans, oats and grain sorghum. I encourage my fellow farmers to meet with a crop insurance agent before March 15 to ensure that they have the coverage they need to prepare for those things Mother Nature and the markets may have in store for us in 2016.
APA Insurance, alongside six insurance companies, (Amaco, CIC, Heritage, Jubilee, Kenya Orient & UAP) has launched a new multi-peril micro-insurance product that covers smallholder maize farmers against poor yields as a result of adverse climatic conditions, disease, damages by insects etc. The Area Yield Index Insurance will be provided in partnership with the Government of Kenya, which is offering a 50 per cent subsidy on insurance premium for up to five acres per farmer. The subsidy becomes effective upon farmers’ payment of their share of the premium.
The state government has announced a compensation package for farmers who suffered losses due to the unseasonal rain and hailstorms that lashed parts of Maharashtra last month. The rainfall in parts of Aurangabad, Jalna, Amaravti, Akola from February 27 has killed six people across the state. Farmers have also lost their cattle due to the freak showers and hail. State revenue Minister Eknath Khadse said that the government will compensate the farmers for the loss of crops and cattle. Farmers will be paid Rs 6,800 per hectare for crop damage, Rs 13,500 per hectare for damage of orchards.
In Kenya's Kiambu County, farmers have been warned about possible pest attacks on their crops in the wake of the current dry season. Most of the farmers in the county grow vegetables, such as cabbage and spinach. Kikuyu Sub-County Crop Officer, George Ngigi on Wednesday 24 Feb, said that pests such as white flies, melon flies and cutworms could attack crops due to the change of weather and season, and potentially cause huge losses for farmers. Ngigi advised the farmers to ensure protective measures to control the pests were in place, such as applying pesticides at the correct time.
Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) has given a thumbs down to the Union Budget 2016-17 and said the NDA government's goal of doubling farmers' income in the next five years is a "dream". BKU national spokesman Rakesh Tikait said Rs 5,500 crore allocated for the new crop insurance scheme will benefit insurance companies and not farmers. The goal of doubling farmers' income in the next five years is a dream. Its is not possible when farmers are committing suicide due to the pressure of the huge debts. The government has not given funds to free farmers from debts.
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