Agri Business

Farmers demand cover for crop damage by wild animals

Our Bureau Bengaluru | Updated on January 19, 2018

Farmer groups have demanded that the recently announced Prime Minister Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) should cover the risks and crop losses inflicted by wild animals, such as elephants and wild boars, among others.

These wild animals, mainly in peripheral areas of national parks and wild life sanctuaries, increasingly pose a risk to farmers around those regions. Farmers are inflicted with crop losses and other damages when herds of such animals occasionally stray from their habitats and enter farm lands, destroying the fields and plantations.

PMFBY has excluded crop loss caused by wildlife from the ambit of the insurance scheme. Besides, crops grazed or destroyed by domestic and/or wild animals, losses arising from perils such as war and kindred perils, nuclear risks, riots, malicious damage, theft, and act of enmity, are all categorised under ‘exclusions’ in the new scheme. However, the new scheme proposes to provide comprehensive risk insurance to cover yield losses from non-preventable risks such as natural fire and lightning, storm, hailstorm, cyclone, typhoon, tempest, hurricane, tornado, floods, inundation and landslide, drought and dry spells, and pests and diseases, etc.

“We want losses caused by wild animals to be covered under the scheme,” said TN Prakash Kammaradi, Chairman of the Karnataka Agriculture Price Commission.

Presently, the local administration and the State governments occasionally extend some relief to farmers whenever they are impacted by such losses.

Growers of cereals like paddy, horticulture crops such as banana and vegetables, and cash crops like sugarcane, apart from plantation crops (mainly coffee), are among the worst affected by straying wild animals.

While there are no official estimates on losses inflicted by the wild animals, activists peg the losses at about a third of the output in the peripheries of such natural habitats. “About 30 to 35 per cent of the output gets impacted by wild animals, monkeys and birds in these regions,” said Kavita Kuruganti, Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA).

Crop damages inflicted by wild animals is one of the biggest challenges faced, right from Uttarakhand to Kerala, Kuraganti said, adding that such risks and losses should be covered under the new crop insurance scheme.

Published on January 19, 2016

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