Fertiliser insurance for farmers
A mobile micro insurance service provider -- BIMA -- is working out a model that will see rural farmers across the country benefit from insurance packages when they purchase bags of fertiliser.
BIMA already runs Tigo’s subscriber insurance programme, and according to its Country Manager, Russel Haresign, the insurance model for the farmers is under development, “and we are talking to various [fertiliser] companies to see how it would work”.
He told the B&FT that: “You can have a model where by simply buying a bag of fertiliser you have purchased the insurance. So the insurance comes for free. You will just need to activate the insurance by sending your telephone number to us and we will then contact you and register you for the insurance. .
Rural farmers -- mainly engaged in growing cash crops for export and various staple foods -- have for many years bemoaned a lack of insurance cover, given the risks involved in their daily activities.
The lack of insurance cover and limited income for farmers are largely responsible for the current drift of the expected younger generation of farmers from the agricultural sector to engage in commerce in urban centres.
Agriculture is fast losing its image as the backbone of the economy, as many rural folks are abandoning the sector for trading and hospitality jobs in the cities.
Agriculture has for decades been acknowledged as the mainstay of Ghana’s economy, but recent data compiled by the World Bank Group suggest the sector that once employed about two-thirds of the Ghanaian population has lost its appeal.
According to the World Bank Group, about 21 percent of the Ghanaian population has moved out of agriculture to other more productive economic sectors over an 18-year period between 1992 and 2010.
At the same time, employment in industry and services grew from 38 to 59 percent -- making the reallocation of labour the reason for more than one-tenth of all Ghana’s GDP growth over this period -- a share similar to that in China over 1980–2010, and an even greater share in more recent years.
These findings come at a time the contribution of agric to the economy has also gone down over the years. In 1992, the share of agric to GDP was 23.6 percent, growing to about 41 percent in 1995. But the Ghana Statistical Service reports that the contribution of agric to GDP declined from 29.8 percent in 2010 to 22 percent at the end of last year.
The World Bank in a new report, Ghana Urbanisation Review, launched on Thursday also found that while employment in the agric sector has taken a southerly turn, commerce -- be it wholesale or retail -- had within a decade since the new millennium increased from 14.5 percent to 18.9 percent.
Within that time-frame, employment in the hospitality sector (hotels, accommodation, restaurants, and food services) almost doubled from 2.9 percent to 5.5 percent.
Manufacturing employment however witnessed a slight reduction, from 11.1 percent in 2000 to 10.8 percent in 2010, said the report -- done in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and supported by the Swiss State Economic Secretariat (SECO).
These developments, the World Bank Group noted, are not ideal for a country that has seen its urban population increase more than three and half-fold from 4 million to 14 million people over the past 30 years, and growing more than 4.4 percent every year without the necessary accompanying jobs and social amenities.
Mr. Haresign noted that the provision of insurance and a social security scheme are some of the measures that will ensure a younger crop of farmers are able to maintain the agricultural sector’s contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“We will need to bring insurance to the doorsteps of farmers. We are always trying to find new ways of reaching our target customers. This will ensure that farmers are properly insured,” he said.