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PULA, Leadway, Heifer, AFEX pay farmers N110m insurance claims on ginger blight

By Ojugbele Omotunde

PULA Advisors AG, in partnership with Leadway Assurance, Heifer International, and AFEX Commodity Exchange, has paid out N110 million to farmers affected by the ginger blight disease in Nigeria.

Speaking at the occasion in Abuja on Thursday, Mr. Chukwuma Kalu, PULA’s Commercial Manager, Anglophone West Africa, disclosed that the payment for 1,138 farmers kick-started the 2023 wet season insurance claims ceremony.

He said the insurance payout forms the basis of the “Naija Unlock Signature Program” coordinated by Heifer in conjunction with AFEX and her network of Rice, Maize, Soya and Ginger smallholder farmers in Niger, Kaduna, Jigawa, Plateau, Kebbi and Jigawa States.

Mr. Kalu said Leadway Assurance, being the lead insurer of the program is to make the claims payout of N110 million to AFEX on behalf of ginger farmers in Kaduna State who suffered 100 per cent harvest loss due to the outbreak of the Ginger Blight disease.

He reiterated that a total of 1,138 ginger farmers were verified for compensation for payouts in respect of their harvest losses.

The PULA executive said losses, which were due to pests, diseases, climate change, and other critical factors, had necessitated the inclusion of insurance in the farming programme.

Mr. Kalu said this is in order to protect farmers’ investments against crop or harvest failures emanating from climate change perils.

“The partnership has been actively involved in ensuring that climate-induced challenges in the agricultural sector are tackled.

“This is in order to ensure that smallholder farmers’ confidence is bolstered, food production guaranteed, and food systems resilience is mainstreamed in the attempt to support the government’s ongoing drive to address food security challenges.

“We are able to achieve this by ensuring that farmers’ claims are verified, catalogued, and processed expeditiously anytime they suffer from harvest losses,” he said.

PULA Advisors, a leader in agricultural insurance innovation, streamlined the claims assessment and payout process, ensuring transparency and efficiency in delivering financial support to aggrieved farmers that suffered losses.

In his remarks, Dr. Lekan Tobe, Country Director, Heifer International Nigeria, said the payout ceremony has been made possible because of the catalytic role played by Heifer International.

He added that Heifer is responsible for prefinancing the insurance premiums of farmers participating under the AFEX 2023 wet season farming programme at the start of the planting season.

Dr. Tobe explained that the Heifer pre-financing model allows farmers to be insured during the farming season but deferred their payment for insurance services post-harvest when they are financially buoyant to pay for it.

He said the payout bears testimony to the impact of mitigating against agricultural risks that are currently experienced by the Nigerian smallholder farmers.

Heifer Project International, a global non-for-profit organisation, pre-financed the insurance premiums for the farmers at the beginning of the season, providing a post-harvest repayment option.

Also speaking at the ceremony, Leadway Head of Regional Technical Services and Agric Insurance, Mr. Fatoona Ayoola, said the company, with over 50 years’ experience in protecting livelihoods through comprehensive insurance coverages, has once again demonstrated its competence in servicing farmers’ claims.

He explained that by so doing, Leadway is providing climate resilience and sustainability for smallholder farmers’ businesses, thereby contributing to the food security of the nation.

Managing Director of AFEX Fair Trade Nigeria, Mr. Kamaldeen Raji, said the company is one of the largest commodity players in Nigeria.

According to him, AFEX works with an expansive network of farmers and processors, providing them with the capital, infrastructure, and market access needed to support food productivity.

He said AFEX’s innovative value-chain financing model leverages on insurance to protect their investments and indemnify their raw-material agricultural supply chain against crop losses.

In his closing remarks, Dr. Michael Enahoro noted that the partnership has enjoined its collective aspiration towards expanding this engagement and ensuring that more Nigerian smallholder farmers are registered and insured during the 2024 farming season.

He said farmers and investors involved in the production value chains are therefore advised to take advantage of this partnership and have their projects insured against climatic and other risks during the 2024 wet season and beyond.

Pula is an agricultural insurance and technology company that designs and delivers innovative agricultural insurance and digital products to help smallholder farmers endure yield risks, improve their farming practices, and bolster their incomes over time.

 

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