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HYDERABAD: The Agriculture Insurance Company of India Ltd (AIC) has decided to introduce Weather-Based Crop Insurance Scheme (WBCIS) for groundnut crop in four Rayalaseema districts from Kharif-2011 to provide better benefits to the farmers covered.
As feared by the insurance planners, the over enthusiasm of politicians to ensure short-term benefits to the farming community in drought-prone districts like Anantapur, the National Agriculture Insurance Scheme (NAIS) has been reduced to a scheme of little use since the insurance claims for groundnut under it have come down drastically for kharif-2010.
In spite of warnings from the agriculture and revenue authorities, including the district Collectors, the NAIS was allowed to be misused, particularly in districts like Anantapur, by projecting higher crop coverage and lower yield than actual area and yield since kharif-2000. The idea was to help farmers who have availed crop loan but failed to cultivate the crop to get insurance benefit.
However, the regular ‘assessment' of lower yield has done more damage than good to farmer in the long run as the crop loss (of groundnut) is estimated on the basis of 60 per cent of the average yield during the last five years. As a result, the insurance claims for the groundnut crop loss suffered in kharif-2010 are learnt to be very low.
“Politicians have realised the problem and started pressing for the introduction of WBCIS since last year as the NAIS will make no sense for districts like Anantapur anymore,” an officer said.
Meanwhile, Deputy General Manager of AIC, P. Nagarjun, told The Hindu here on Tuesday that farmers covered under WBCIS would have higher chances of getting benefits as they would be paid compensation (for groundnut) for deficit or excessive rainfall and relative humidity in the classified weather cycles and dry spells beyond 14 days during the crop period.
The WBCIS would be implemented in 14 districts for 2011-12 agriculture year covering five plantation crops (sweetlime, orange, mango, oilpalm and banana-fruit), two vegetables (tomato and brinjal) and three commercial crops (cotton, groundnut, red chilli).
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