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PMFBY blighted in Goa by poor response

SHOMA PATNAIK | NT 

Panaji

Dejected by the poor response to the   Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana in the state,  the agriculture department  has made a pitch towards farmers  to apply for the central crop insurance scheme. 

The PMFBY  aims at addressing the problem of crop losses due to the risky nature of farming. However in Goa, the scheme is not eliciting good response. 

Currently the crop insurance scheme being credit-linked receives applications only from farmers who have availed of agriculture loans, while farmers who do not avail of loans have totally avoided the scheme.

Sources said that only 1,636 farmers applied  for the yojana   since its launch in 2016. Of the 1,636 farmers, as less as 133 farmers benefitted.

As of date, it covers 1216.7 hectares in the state and is for four notified crops – paddy, sugarcane, groundnut and pulses. 

Of the 133 farmers who are beneficiaries of the PMFBY, 155 are sugarcane growers  and 18 paddy farmers.

It appears that the poor response for the scheme   is due to its limited coverage of only four crops.

The other problem with the PMFBY is that it does not include losses from wild animal attacks.

“Farmers do not see the sense of paying insurance annually when they cannot claim losses. They are also unaware of the benefits of crop insurance and prefer the state insurance scheme, viz. the  Shetkari Adhar Nidhi, which is free and covers loss arising from wild animal attacks,” said a source in the agriculture department. 

To make the PMFBY attractive, the  department is planning to seek permission to include  horticulture crops grown by local farmers such as banana, cashew, mango and coconut.

Insurance companies have been asked to increase awareness of the scheme.

The PMFBY covers crop losses arising from germination risk, viz. failure of the crop due to insufficient monsoon, risks to the standing crop from floods, hailstorm, landslide, natural fire (lightning), local calamity, and several risks.

However the scheme being compulsory (if bank loan is availed) is a deterrent to the farmer as premium is

automatically deducted from the account.

Moreover, a few farmers in the state avail of farm loans.

Under the scheme the crop failure rate is determined by the insurance company depending on the average yield of previous years.

The insurance is to be paid in three weeks once claimed.

The department has also invited bids from insurance companies as implementing agencies for the scheme for the current year 2019-20 (kharif and rabi season).

While July 15 is the last date for receiving applications from farmers (kharif crop), the deadline for insurance companies to submit bids is June 24.  

The cut-off date for farmers to apply for the PMFBY for rabi season is December 15 2019.

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