Civil society organisations (CSOs) working in the environment space have asked the government to consider subsidising climate insurance for local farmers.
The CSOs made the observation at Mponela in Dowa on Friday during a National Stakeholders’ Dialogue Session on the Effective Implementation of Insurance Solutions for Climate Resilience-Building in Malawi.
The CSOs said, despite the importance of climate insurance in cushioning rural farmers against impacts of climate change, not many growers in the country appreciate its importance.
Civil Society Network on Climate Change (Cisonecc) Coordinator Julius Ng’oma said extending subsidies to hedge against harsh climate could be critical in helping the poorest of the poor farmer earn something in a bad year.
“It is crucial that government should help the poor farmers who cannot afford premiums by subsidising climate insurance as one way of ensuring that farmers do not toil in vain,” Ng’oma said.
Insurance Association of Malawi Chairperson for Agriculture Committee Master Mbale said civil society players have an important role to play in sensitising the masses on the importance of climate insurance.
Mbale said when the farmers buy climate insurance, the insurance company would come and compensate the farmers in the event of drought or floods.
Currently, Malawi only subsidises agriculture inputs such as seeds, fertiliser and livestock in the Affordable Input Programme (AIP).
Agriculture Minister Lobin Lowe was not immediately available for a comment Sunday.
Malawi is one of the countries highly vulnerable to disaster risks.
The country is already experiencing climate variability and change which has led to increases in incidences of dry spells and intense rainfall events over the last two decades. These changes have led to an increase in the frequency of floods, droughts, and pest and disease outbreaks, with severe economic and social consequences.
Drought-related damages and losses amounted to $370 million in 2016, which was 5.6 percent of the country’s GDP.