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India - New crop insurance scheme without snow damage cover

The newly-floated tender bid inviting companies for implementing crop insurance scheme doesn’t mention snowfall as one of the ‘major weather perils’ leading to crop loss.

After heavy snowfall on November 7, Jammu Kashmir government introduced Restructured Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme (RWBCIS) to cover farmers against the losses incurred on the account if ‘adverse weather’ conditions.

However, the bid for the tender has not included untimely snowfall which farmers claim is one of the major perils affecting the crop.

According to the tender document, major weather perils which are deemed to cause adverse weather incidence leading to crop loss shall be covered under the scheme include rainfall, deficit rainfall, excess rainfall, unseasonal rainfall, rainy days, dry spells, dry days. High temperature (heat), low temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, a combination of the all.

The crops that can be covered in the scheme are apple, mango, litchi and saffron.

Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers cum Dealers Union (KVFGU) however said unseasonal snowfall is the main weather adversity that results in crop damage.

President KVFGU Bashir Ahmad Basheer said, “Untimely snowfall has been the main factor causing heavy damages to orchards every year. I don’t know why it is not in the list of crop insurance,” Basheer said.

On November 7, heavy snowfall damaged many orchards across the Valley.

Horticulture department has estimated the losses to the tune of Rs 2250 crore to fruit growers.

The government is proposing to declare the snowfall on November 6, 7 as ‘natural calamity’ to provide relief to farmers under the State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF).

Mission Director RWBCIS and Director Agriculture Syed Altaf Aijaz Andrabi said that snowfall being a local climate factor would be included under ‘precipitation factor’ in the scheme.

“We are inviting national level companies for the bid. So, snowfall being a local weather factor is not mentioned in the bid, but it will be included in the precipitation,” Andrabi said.

The government has set 6 December 2019 as the last date for filling the bids.

Source – http://www.risingkashmir.com