Rain-fed agriculture remains a risky undertaking for farmers as torrential rains rage on through the month October causing colossal damage and farm losses to farmers in Kabarole District. Many other areas across the country are facing the brunt of related climate vagaries to the detriment of the farming sector. In Ntoroko District, the floods have become "resident", with Lake Albert and Semuliki River submerging large areas of grazing land and fishing villages. The flood plains of Nyamwamba and Mubuku Rivers in Kasese District have become imminent seasonal disasters on the local population.
Apparently, many farmers lack accessible and affordable safeguards to the impacts of climate change extremes. The use of greenhouse farming and other climate-controlled agriculture technologies is as far from reach for smallholders.
Whereas there are efforts by government to respond to climate disasters, the coordination of early warning, mitigation and response is weak. For instance, there is an apparent disconnect in policy and operatinal coordination of disaster response and mitigation. The Agriculture Insurance Scheme and the National Policy for Disaster Preparedness and Management (NPDPM) are cases in point. As a result, the Agriculture Insurance Scheme has remained in the circles of elite and little known to the intended beneficiaries who are the majority smallholder farmers.
The Agriculture Insurance scheme was introduced in Financial Year 2016/17, first, as a pilot. The government amassed 5 billion shillings in the facility as premium subsidy for a period of 5 years. The scheme encourages commercial banks to lend to both small- and large-scale farmers whose enterprises are often considered risky investments and unattractive to the banking sector.
Despite these reforms, uptake of agriculture insurance has remained low and accessed only by the well-to-do. Surely, something needs to be done. Mitigating climate disaster risks in agriculture requires a multi-pronged approach, including inter alia:
- Popularising the insurance scheme through farmers groups to seek farmer buy-in. Farmer groups especially those doing savings, credit and marketing provide a good entry point for popularising the scheme
- Besides crop and livestock insurance, there is need to mitigate climate risk in agriculture broadly through adoption of complimentary farming technologies, including drought tolerant seed varieties, climate-smart agriculture practices and technologies, improved post-harvest handling and storage practices
Agriculture Insurance in Uganda is rolled-out through the Agro Consortium which is a coalition of ten insurance companies that was set up to provide agriculture insurance under the Uganda Agriculture Insurance Scheme (UAIS) These insurance companies are: APA Insurance (Uganda) Ltd, CIC General Insurance Uganda Ltd, First Insurance Company, Goldstar Insurance Company Ltd, Jubilee insurance, Lion Assurance, NIC General Insurance company Ltd, PAX Insurance, Phoenix of Uganda Assurance Company Ltd and UAP Insurance Uganda Ltd.
Insurance Regulatory Authority of Uganda. BROCHURE POTRAIT.cdr (ira.go.ug). Accessed on 28th October, 2021
The Independent, 2021. Agriculture insurance still a mystery among farmers in Acholi. https://www.independent.co.ug/agriculture-insurance-still-a-mystery-among-farmers-in-acholi/ (accessed on 28th October, 2021)
Republic of Uganda, 2011. The National Policy for Disaster Preparedness and Management. Department Of Disaster Preparedness and Management, Office of The Prime Minister. Kampala, Uganda
Sande Protazia, 2017. The Uganda Agriculture Insurance Scheme. Insurance Regulatory Authority. Kampala, Uganda