Chilima calls for insurance of  agriculture sector

Malawian  Vice President, Dr Saulos Chilima, has appealed to insurance companies in the country to expand their business and insure the agriculture sector.

Chilima: Insure agriculture sector

Chilima made the appeal Saturday night in Blantyre at the annual charter dinner organized by the Insurance Institute of Malawi, the body of all insurance companies in the country.

He said the insurance industry has so far covered only 1.4 per cent of the country’s market, mostly the motor vehicle industry in urban centres, leaving other sectors uncovered.

Chilima said time had come for the insurance companies to be innovative, think outside the box and tap into the un-tapped business opportunities, citing agriculture as one of such sectors.

“We are having a lot of challenges in the agriculture sector because you have not opened up the market to our farmers. We wouldn’t have been complaining of crop loss, the dry spells, the droughts and other agriculture challenges had it been that you, the insurance companies, covered this sector.

“Malawi is an agro-based economy and you could make a significant contribution to the development of this country by expanding to the agriculture sector,” Dr Chilima observed.

He added, “With the insurance in place, farmers would be willing to take risk such as borrowing huge sums of money and invest in the sector. You must, therefore, develop new ways how you penetrate this new market.”

Apart from the agriculture systems, the Vice President also urged these companies to expand to other sectors and help in poverty eradication.

“Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is becoming one of the fastest growing businesses and this could be another sector to invest in,” Chilima said.

On a lighter note, Chilima commended the companies for their great contribution to the country. He cited stability of the economy, enhancement of cash in-flow and capital markets, and mobilization of savings as areas of the companies’ contributions.

Meanwhile, the Vice President has asked the insurance companies to raise awareness on their products, saying many Malawians have not insured their businesses and property because they know little about insurance.

“The reason why I said the market penetration is low is because people are poor and also do not know what to insure due to lack of knowledge on insurance. Could you please facilitate access of your products through customer awareness campaigns,” Dr Chilima urged.

Magret Singano, President of the Insurance Institute of Malawi, said it has always been the wish of the institute to reach out to farmers and help them with micro loans and reduce dependency on government when disasters strike.

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Maize farmer

I’m enjoying crop insurance by Monsanto seed company against drought. Introduced on all Dekalb varieties and package sizes. I got my pay out after 21 days due to poor rains rains my garden had experienced and the period was timely to replant. The replanted crop is doing better and will harvest better yield. I did not have to pay for the insurance but register with that shop from where I made the purchase. I will do the same in this coming season. Monsanto has good wishes for success of us smallholder farmers.

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