Jammu and Kashmir govt to insure farm production

Jammu and Kashmir Government has decided to introduce ‘Restructured Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme (RWBCIS)’ to insulate farmers against losses incurred due to ‘adverse weather incidences.’

An official said that “the decision to launch the scheme was taken after 7 November snowfall which caused more than 30 percent loss to apple—Kashmir’s main cash crop.” The administration in this regard has invited bids from all reputed insurance companies to insure notified crops in horticulture and agriculture sectors, including apple, litchi, mango and saffron, cultivated in 20 districts across the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

“Bids/offers are invited from all insurance companies registered with Government of India for submission of their district wise, crop-wise actuarial premium rate in percent of sum insured (financial bid) as per the prescribed format for carrying out implementation of Restructured Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme in respect of J&K for the period of three years,” reads the bid document.

According to the document, weather perils are to be covered under this scheme, which are inflicting huge losses to the farm sector. “… major weather perils which are deemed to cause ‘ adverse weather incidence’ leading to crop loss , shall be covered under the scheme , rainfall – deficit rainfall, excess rainfall,  unseasonal rainfall, rainy days, dry spells, dry days. Temperature – high temperature (heat), low temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, a combination of the all,” reads the document.

The government has set 6 December as the final day for finalization of bids.

Mission Director, PMFBY, RWBCIS, Altaf Aijaz said that “Crop insurance scheme would cover all farmers cultivating notified crops in notified areas of J&K UT. All farmers including those who have availed loan facility or not from any of the financial institutions can avail benefits of this crop insurance scheme.”

Pertinently, prior to abrogation of Article 370, erstwhile State Government of Jammu and Kashmir had approved weather based insurance scheme for farmers as the Central insurance scheme—Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY)—didn’t cover the cash crops of J&K and other losses incurred by farmers due to adverse weather conditions.

Horticulture backbone of Kashmir economy

In Kashmir, horticulture continues to be backbone of the economy contributing annually over Rs 10,000 crore to the region.

As per the data analyzed by Greater Kashmir, Fruit industry has shown significant growth as the fruit production has gone up by 14 lakh metric tones in past 18 years, similarly the area under fruit production has too witnessed spurt by 1.1 lakh hectares.

According to official figures of the government, the area under production of fruits in Jammu and Kashmir is currently 3.31 lakh hectares while in 2001 it was just 2.21 thus an increase of 1.1 lakh hectares.