A perennially drought-prone district with the lowest annual rainfall in the country after Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, for farmers in Anantapur the crop insurance and input subsidy provided by the State government are lifelines.
With a negligible number of tenant farmers, Anantapur districtâ€™s agrarian class is highly intelligent and aware when it comes to the benefits of insuring their crop on time and paying premiums before the deadline. The 5,61,212 agriculturists from the district, out of 16 lakh from Andhra Pradesh, have enrolled themselves for the YSR Free Crop Insurance programme initiated by the State government this Kharif (2019).
Supported by the Central governmentâ€™s Weather-based Crop Insurance Scheme and Prime Minister Fasal Bima Yojana, the State government pays 6.25% while the Centre pays 4% of the scale of finance on crop loans (sum assured) as premium.
During the current kharif for groundnut crop, â‚¹57,500 is the scale of finance per hectare. For chillies, it is â‚¹1,95,000 per hectare, and horticulture crops like sweet lime and pomegranate have been added.
Joint Director of Agriculture Habib Basha told The Hindu that the total gross premium paid on behalf of farmers in Anantapur district is â‚¹72.7 crore. The loanee farmers get automatically covered when their loan amount is restructured or fresh amount sanctioned with â‚¹1 charged from them. Till Rabi season this year, the farmers used to pay 2.5% of the premium amount while the Centre and State used to share the remaining 8% with IFFCO-Tokio General Insurance Company Limited underwriting the weather-based Crop Insurance (mainly for groundnut) and SBI General Insurance Co. Limited underwriting the Prime Minister Fasal Bima Yojana for all other crops like paddy, chillies, jowar, maize, redgram and sunflower.
The Joint Director said that this could be the largest number of farmers covered under crop insurance in a district in the country. The area covered under the crop insurance is 5,52,873.27 hectares. The targeted credit disbursal in the district for Kharif is â‚¹8,083 crore, but due to lack of rains, the offtake has been poor at â‚¹5,482 crore, but with contingency plan in place from August 15, seeds for alternative crops would be given and entire targeted amount disbursed.
For groundnut crop, a mandal is taken as the unit for claims settlement and for other crops, the village is taken as a unit. For claim settlement of other crops, crop cutting experiment results are taken as the basis, while for weather-based crop insurance for groundnut, the rainfall data, wind, temperature and relative humidity of a mandal are taken as parameters.
For 2018 kharif season, claims worth â‚¹533.08 crore were settled for groundnut crop, while it was â‚¹159.2 crore in 2017, and â‚¹419.1 crore in 2016 kharif. The claim amount for PMFBY for 2018 kharif is yet to be settled and the amount is likely to be between â‚¹18 crore and â‚¹20 crore. These insurance claim amounts along with input subsidy given by the State government for failure of crops in the drought-hit district are the only solace for the farmers and keep their interest intact in continuing agriculture activity, said Mr. Basha.