300 to benefit

ABOUT 300 dairy farmers in the Central-Eastern division are expected to benefit from a new bundled microinsurance scheme aimed at improving their livelihoods.

It will also be a the first time for these farmers, who are members of the Fiji Cooperative Dairy Company Ltd (FCDCL), to be protected by any form of insurance, making the initiative a significant one.

The microinsurance scheme was birthed out of a partnership between FCDCL, public listed insurance provider FijiCare Ltd and UN Capital Development Fund’s (UNCDF) Pacific Financial Inclusion Program.

Fiji Care’s microinsurance has a combined cover limit of $10,000 per insured farmer for a cost, or premium of $52 per year, meaning each dairy farmer pays $1 a week.

The $10,000 limit covers:

* Life and funeral (up to age of 65) – $4000.

* Term Life — in the event of death of the insured, a total of $3000 will be paid to the beneficiary.

* Funeral — a total of $1000 will also be paid for funeral expenses of the insured.

* Personal accident (up to age of 65) — maximum $3000

This provides protection for any injury that results in partial or total disability of the insured person because of an accident.

* Fire — maximum $3000.

Welcoming the partnership, FCDCL chief executive officer Sachida Nand said a part of their mission was to improve the livelihoods of our farmers.

He said the insurance payment and claims would be directed through FCDCL via a database of its dairy farmers and suppliers.

“We feel that putting this microinsurance scheme in place will help to achieve that,” Mr Nand said yesterday.

“We will shortly be starting a project with PFIP’s support to visit all our members to raise awareness of the microinsurance scheme and how it works, and we’ll be collecting information on our farmers to ensure that any claims are able to be paid out quickly.”

The partnership to develop microinsurance for dairy farmers is a result from the findings of a field research conducted in October last year by PFIP and FCDCL on a sample group of dairy farmers.

The study found that many farmers did not have any form of insurance and that they would be willing to take and pay for insurance that was affordable.

FijiCare managing director Peter McPherson said the microinsurance product was a good step forward, particularly with risks that can affect dairy farmers personally, their property and their cattle.

“We know that farming is essential to the country, its economy and that dairy farmers face a number of risks in their day to day activities,” Mr McPherson said.

“We hope that we can do more for the dairy farmers and in phase two of our work with the FCDCL, with PFIP support we will be looking closely at the options to see how the cattle can also be insured, as this will also be clearly beneficial to dairy farmers.”

PFIP deputy program manager Krishnan Narasimhan reiterated PFIP’s commitment to work with the insurance industry to improve Fiji’s insurance penetration rate which was only 12 per cent of the adult population in 2015.

“The partnerships and initiatives that PFIP has funded has seen a great increase in the number of Pacific Islanders who now have insurance,” Mr Narasimhan said.

“Having insurance, means that the families of the farmers will now have protection against adverse events that may occur.”

Mr Narasimhan said this was part of PFIP’s efforts in building resilience in the wider business community especially to natural disasters.

PFIP’s work with FijiCare Insurance has been funded partially by the Australian Government and the Russian-Federation/UNDP administered Regional Disaster Resilience in the Pacific Small Island Developing States (RESPAC) Programme.

Meanwhile, this is the third entity that FijiCare has provided microinsurance cover to.

Last year it provided insurance for 12,500 sugarcane farmers and will be providing cover to copra and rice farmers very soon.