Harare (New Ziana)-The Insurance Council of Zimbabwe (ICZ) on Tuesday bemoaned low uptake of insurance by farmers which currently stands at six percent.
ICZ Public Relations and Marketing manager Ringisai Batiya told New Ziana that at present, agricultural insurance cover is mostly taken up by large commercial farmers, tobacco farmers and contract farmers, while the majority of growers still shy away.
“The uptake of agriculture insurance has remained subdued with this class of business contributing about 6 percent to the total Gross Premium Written of ZWL14.14 billion as per the September 2021 IPEC Report,” she said.
Batiya attributed the subdued uptake of agriculture insurance to lack of knowledge on the benefits of insurance and risk management services.
“There is a low uptake due to lack of tailor-made insurance products that address the needs of smallholder and subsistence farmers who are the majority in Zimbabwe following the land redistribution exercise and mistrust in insurance services.
“Legacy issues of unpaid claims by insurers who were deregistered further fuel mistrust,” she said.
Reliance on traditional self-insurance in risk and loss management is also an issue, said Batiya.
She however confirmed that available insurance packages do not fully address the needs of farmers.
“At the moment, products on the market partially address the needs of farmers in terms of insurance cover required. ICZ is actively engaging with farmers in identify their insurance needs. Based on the information collected ICZ is working with insurers and IPEC to improve on the current product offering and affordability,” she said.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president Shadreck Makombe said lack of tailor made packages that address farmers problems was a major turn- off.
“Most of these insurance firms do not want to pay. When they come to the farmer in the event of a disaster, it would appear as if the farmer has committed a crime; the inquiries and filling of forms is also tedious.
“We urge insurance firms to have user friendly packages which are tailor made for farmers, not a one size fits all,” he said.
He however urged farmers to consider taking up insurance.
“We got short-changed in the past but let’s find each other,” he said.
Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board chief executive Meanwell Gudu said the situation is different for tobacco farmers who are mandated to take up insurance cover before being contracted to grow the crop.
“Contractors make it mandatory for growers to have field to floor insurance cover before signing up as assurance that they will be able to recover their money in case of any eventualities. You cannot be contracted unless you have an insurance policy.
“For this season we have 122 000 registered farmers and 97 percent of those are contracted, which means they have insurance cover,” he said.