Vice-President Saulos Klaus Chilima has applauded World Food Programme’s initiative in which farmers are encouraged to insure their crops they have grown in case their areas experience an unexpected drought.
Chilima presided over WFP’s insurance payout ceremony at Chaweta Primary School in Traditional Authority Machinjiri’s drought-prone area on Thursday where all farmers involved in the project, called Rural Resilience Initiative, were reimbursed of the money they insured through Nico General Insurance.
“This initiative should be institutionalised so that it should reach out to every farmer across the country. Malawi is vulnerable to effects of climate change that leads to drought and famine,” said Chilima, who is also Minister of Disaster Preparedness.
He said insuring crops that have been grown is an excellent initiative for drought-prone areas that are also highly food insecure as they are dependent on rain-fed agriculture.
Through the Rural Resilience Initiative, WFP is supporting smallholder farmers in climate risk management by enabling the poorest farmers to pay for drought insurance in which farmers do extra community work and their payment for that labour is channeled to Nico General Insurance.
This extra community labour, which mostly is about re-afforestation and climate change preparedness in form of following right land use to conserve as much rain water as possible, also helps the households receive monthly food or cash handouts to meet their consumption needs and the extra goes into crop insurance.
This insurance payout has been honoured after proper rainfall in T/A Machinjiri’s area came very late after farmers had already planted and their crops were destroyed as testified by two of the resilience initiative beneficiaries, Catherine Thomas and Petros Malunga during the ceremony at Chaweta Primary School.
In his speech, WFP’s Country Director Benoit Thiry said protecting farmers with insurance means that when a drought shock hits, compensation for losses prevents farmers from resorting to desperate measures, such as selling their livestock, falling into deep debts or taking their children out of school.
“This season in Malawi, more than 7,000 drought-affected families will receive an insurance pay-out valued at over MK360 million,” Thiry said. “This is the first time that a weather index insurance programme has directly delivered pay-outs at such a large scale in Malawi.
“Insurance is effective when and only it is integrated into a package of support that can address the other risks. Completely shifting from one-off activities, the integrated package includes strategies like asset creation (for water conservation or increased production), weather index insurance, savings, credit or climate services.
“We are also offering market access support to help families transition away from food insecurity and aid dependency, as they become more resilient.”
Thiry paid special tribute to women as positive supporters of this initiative, saying various studies across the globe have revealed that women are more vulnerable to climate shocks but it also showed that providing vulnerable smallholder farmers, especially women, with an integrated resilience strategies has improved families’ income and food security.
“In some areas, like savings and credit [cooperatives], they are even outperforming men. They are the real champion, and we should recognise their work and encourage them to go further because there will be no development without involving equally men and women,” Thiry said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :