Agri Insurance

Government launching insurance scheme for farmers' assets.

MUMBAI: The government is launching a new insurance scheme for farmers that could cover their income, livestock and other assets, in addition to crop insurance, according to international reinsurance major Swiss Re. "The government is considering an overarching, holistic insurance package for farmers." Said Harini Kannan, head, agriculture, South-West Asia, Swiss Re. The Zurich-based reinsurer has participated in discussions held by the government with various stakeholders in the agriculture sector, including other insurance companies.

Speaking on the side-lines of an event organised by the reinsurer, Kannan said "The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) as well as the agriculture ministry are involved in the process. We have given our feedback during the discussions. We hope the government makes an announcement on the scheme soon. In the next three to five years, it has the potential to touch the $1- billion mark."

The reinsurer is looking to expand its presence in the Indian agriculture insurance market, the size of which is estimated at about $800 million. Apart from crop insurance, Swiss Re is also looking to cover risks in livestock and aquaculture segments for growth. "The potential in these sectors is untapped. We are still at a very early stage of development," she said.

India is the second largest livestock market in the world, with 104.52 million of the country's 195.6 million rural households owning cattle, the reinsurer said in a report released on Wednesday. Its report on aquaculture put India's marine and farm fish harvests at 9.04 million tonne in 2013 and marine food exports at $4.95 billion in 2013-14.