Monday, 17 June, 2024, Reg No- 06
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Livestock Sector-Last Part

Animal insurance scheme a must to boost the sector: Experts

Published : Monday, 20 May, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 181

Farmers become losers in the different times due to lack of insurance in the livestock sector. Recently, many diseases have gripped the dairy sector due to climate change. Because of this,  cows, goats and chickens are dying suddenly. Due to this, the farmers are facing huge losses.

According to sources from the Department of Livestock (DLS), farmers don know anything about animal insurance. Animal insurance is an insurance policy through which the insurance company fully indemnify the insured animal in case of theft, loss, accident or death due to illness during the policy term. If an animal dies in an accident with insurance, the farmer will be spared a huge financial loss and it will be much easier for him to turn around.

Farmers said that when a cow worth is Tk 100,000 dies, a farmer loses full money. When a cow dies due to disease, theft, flood or any other calamity, a farmer becomes bankrupt. But if he gets compensation from the government or an insurance company for the dead cow, then he has hope anew. As a result, the livestock sector will advance further. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasinas election manifesto for ensuring nutritional security in the country will be much easier to implement.

Ziarul Islam, rural farmer of Biral Upazila in Dinajpur district had five animals at home. One of his cows died suddenly last November. It was worth around Tk 100,000. He said, "I suffered a lot due to the death of a cow worth Tk 100,000. If there had been insurance, I would have been compensated."

Awlad Mia, a small farmer of Manikganj district, said, "What will happen with insurance? Insurance means loss, only giving money. Like him, many people think that insurance means only giving money. Lack of outreach to farmers at the marginal level and lack of campaign are the main reasons behind such misconceptions among farmers. Most farmers do not know what animal insurance is, how to get insurance and what are the benefits of insurance."

Dr Md Golam Rabbani, Chief Technical Coordinator of LDDP told the Daily Observer, "Through the Livestock and Dairy Development Project (LDDP), necessary activities have started for the introduction of animal insurance across the country. Initiatives have been taken to formulate policy, design online database system and prepare a database for animal registration, identification, pre-inspection, vaccination, disease treatment, death, traceability etc. An international agency has been appointed for this purpose. The organization has started the activity and prepared the report. Various training activities are going on based on this report."

Experts say there is no alternative to insurance to ensure financial security to farmers and to take the livestock sector forward. However, major reforms are needed to advance this sector. Direct intervention of government Directorate of Natural Resources is required. It should be ensured that no farmer is cheated on the insurance, as well as extensive publicity should be carried on the insurance so that even the marginal farmers are aware of the correct information about animal insurance and its benefits. Insurance agents should be made more efficient through training. There should be increased vigilance and accountability to ensure that agents maintain regular contact with customers and provide them with correct and accurate information.

Sources said that the first animal insurance was introduced in the country in 1981. However, due to several obstacles, it did not see the success. One of these was the lack of technology in animal identification. As a result, farmers were often defrauded by insurance companies and sometimes by dishonest farmers insurance companies. A group of unscrupulous traders used to collect money from the insurance company even if the animal outside the coverage of insurance died. Many times, even if the insured animal died, the farmers were deprived of the insurance money due to not being able to identify it properly.

Sources said that Bangladesh has advanced a lot in terms of technology. Various animal identification methods have been developed through which animal identification is now possible. These include face detection, ear tagging, tattooing, ear notching, muzzle print, electronic chip and radio collar etc.

Bangladesh Dairy Farmers Association (BDFA) President Md Imran Hossain told Daily Observer, the insurance is very necessary in livestock sector. But the insurance premium is very high. Presently, the premium of 2.5 per cent to 3 per cent per cattle of total cost. If it is 1 per cent, farmers can get animal insurance."

He said, "Delta Life Insurance Company offers pet insurance but the premium is too high. But due to lack of publicity, farmers do not know anything about insurance."

Agricultural economist and teacher of the Bangladesh Agricultural University Prof Md Saidur Rahman told the Daily Observer, "If animal insurance is to be introduced, the premium must be paid by someone. But no one can pay such a premium. And it is very difficult for the government to pay insurance premium like this. However, pilot projects may be taken up for publicity campaigns."

He said that farmers do not have the mentality and ability to pay insurance premium. So they need to be made aware of it and it should be done at the policy level. But there must be something to protect the farmers. As long as there is no insurance, the government should provide more support to the farmers. The government should ensure that cows get proper treatment if they are sick. Use of technology to address diseases should be increased.

The marginal areas of the country have been visited, cattle, buffaloes, goats, sheep, poultry can be seen in almost every house. A large group of farmers in the country earn their livelihood by rearing cattle like cows, buffaloes, goats, sheep etc. individually and commercially. Livestock sector is the source of direct employment of about 50 per cent of the people and indirect employment of about 20 per cent of the people of the country.

 Many people are self-sufficient by rearing cattle. However, it is often seen that animals die due to various diseases or natural calamities, resulting in financial loss to the farmers.

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