The government plans to bring the agriculture sector under insurance coverage to save farmers from losses caused by natural calamities, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said yesterday.
The government has taken an initiative to introduce agriculture insurance through state-owned general insurance company Shadharan Bima Corporation for small and medium farmers, the prime minister said.
Agriculture is playing a major role in creating employment, ensuring food security and reducing poverty, she said. "But crop losses due to floods and other natural calamities are a recurring phenomenon which disrupts the entire economy of the country," she added.
She spoke at the launch of a two-day international seminar -- Agriculture and Micro Insurance: Experience in Afro-Asian Region -- at Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka.
Bangladesh Insurance Association organised the event with assistance from the Federation of Afro-Asian Insurers and Reinsurers.
The event aims to explore the insurance opportunities in the field of agriculture and micro-insurance, implement those opportunities and analyse the potential insurance risks.
If the farm sector is brought under the insurance coverage, productivity will go up and farmers will be able to come out of the cycle of credit, the prime minister said.
"It has become a common phenomenon that our farmers often fail to take their harvests to their homes due to natural calamities.
Such disasters sometimes force them to get entangled in the vicious cycle of credit," she said.
The prime minister also urged the private insurers to think about measures to bring the agriculture sector under insurance coverage, according to state-run news agency BSS and independent UNB.
To make the agriculture sector more productive and to help the farmers recover from the losses of natural disasters, new measures have to be taken both by the public and private sector insurers, she said.
The prime minister also said the government has given due importance to the development and modernisation of the insurance sector.
She hoped the participants from 22 countries at the event would devise a perfect and realistic model of insurance for the third world countries.
She also assured that her government would consider the recommendations of the international seminar.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith, Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority Chairman M Shefaque Ahmed, Federation of Afro-Asian Insurers and Reinsurers' Secretary General Hammam Badar and Bangladesh Insurance Association President Sheikh Kabir Hossain also spoke.