Agri Business

How to risk-proof agriculture

KV Kurmanath New Delhi | Updated on February 28, 2020 Published on February 28, 2020

Weather data, insurance, crop protection solutions will help farmers tackle risks

What are the major risks that confront farmers and the farm sector? There are a whole lot of them — droughts, floods, pests and diseases, access to markets and return on investment.

Himanshu Goyal, Sales and Alliances Leader of the Weather Company, an IBM Business, said crunching of weather data can help farmers take decisions. It will also help input manufacturers plan their production strategies.

Developing models

“In the absence of credible data on weather, farmers are exposed to risks. Countries like the US, Thailand and the Philippines have developed models and technologies around the weather data, benefiting their farmers,” he said.

Weather data would also help insurance companies develop small-size products. “Some insurance companies have shown interest. We are working with a couple of them,” he said.

He made these observations while taking part in a panel discussion on ‘‘How to risk-proof agriculture’’ at the Agri Summit held here on Friday.

Ravi Varanasi, Chief of Business Development at the National Stock Exchange (NSE), said that proper monetisation of produce and distortions in cropping patterns due to changes in climate were important risks facing the farming community.

On the farm risks from the perspective of a commodity exchange, Vijay Kumar, Managing Director of NCDEX (National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange), spoke of protecting margins from risks.

Ram Gopal Agarwal, Founder and Chairman of Dhanuka Agritech, felt that insects and diseases could pose severe risks to farmers. In the absence of good crop protection solutions, the farmers could potentially lose almost all of their produce.

According to Ashish Bhutani, Chief Executive Officer of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), droughts and water stress were big risks for the farm sector. The flagship agricultural insurance scheme was providing them with good cover. Citing the examples of Tamil Nadu and Chhattisgarh, he said settlement of claims had crossed even 100 per cent in several States.

Shishir Sinha, Senior Deputy Editor, BusinessLine, moderated the session.

Published on February 28, 2020
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