BHUBANESWAR:WITH uncertain weather conditions affecting agriculture and insecure land ownership being a major hurdle for a large number of farmers, including sharecroppers, limiting their access to capital and farm inputs, Centre has decided to set up a World Bank assisted project in 6 states including Odisha to enhance farmers’ resilience.
The World Bank programme titled - Agriculture Risk Resilience and Insurance Access project - aims at providing improved access to finance as well as gender inclusion with expected financial risk mitigation benefits for small and marginal farmers.
“Building financial resilience against agro-climatic risk through improved access and delivery of crop insurance to farmers both at national and state level through Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) is the primary objective of the project,” said a senior officer of the Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment Department.
Noting that crop insurance interventions contribute to the twin goals - financial strengthening and deepening access to finance by lowering risks of a slide back to poverty while enhancing sustainability and increasing shared prosperity especially for women, the officer said the project will support changes in institutional incentives to address the causes of sub-optimal performance of crop insurance programmes.
The project will support the State Government in strengthening yield assessment through improving crop cutting experiments (CCEs) methodology and weather data infrastructure.
Similarly, building a robust ground-based weather measuring/monitoring infrastructure will be critical for improving the reliability of underlying weather data for estimating crop loss, he added.As a vast majority of the cultivators are sharecroppers, small and marginal farmers and mostly deprived of the crop insurance benefits, the World Bank will support to improve crop insurance service delivery through enhanced institutional capacity.
Measures will also be taken to expand the crop insurance coverage through promotion of awareness programmes.“This component will finance investments in improving technical and operational capacity of Central and State governments to expand coverage of crop insurance in a manner that is technically sound, promotes efficient delivery and bolsters fiscal efficacy,” said a concept paper of the World Bank.
While the total project cost has been estimated at `2,626 crore, the World Bank assistance will be 50 per cent. The project is aligned with the Centre’s priority of doubling farmers’ incomes by 2022 by helping mitigate agricultural losses due to agro-climatic shocks.