Lately, the federal government, through the Federal Department of Agriculture, has called on poultry farmers across the country, especially those with 3,000 birds and more, to purchase insurance for their farms as the avian flu destroy farms.
It comes as resentment over compensation by affected farmers has prompted others to cover it up.
But for many poultry farmers, buying an insurance policy to cover their farms is another major headache, as the experiences of those who have once purchased have not been encouraging.
Kabiru Ibrahim, architect and former president of the Poultry Farmers Association of Nigeria (PAN), said that as with all aspects of agricultural production, there was some reluctance to take out insurance. However, he agreed that “it is absolutely important to insure poultry because of its particularity”.
“Most poultry farmers, however, have been apathetic to insurance because at one time or another they feel they have not been compensated properly, so the new s is prevalent among them to make them reluctant to participate in the program,” he said.
Despite several calls from authorities for poultry farmers to insure their farms with companies against all eventualities, findings across the states revealed that the number of poultry farms registered with insurance companies is insignificant.
In Kano, PAN State Chapter Chairman Alhaji Umar Usman Kibiya said the issue of poultry farmers’ reluctance to take out insurance was a major concern, which the association is trying to address. .
Kibiya added that the farmers’ reluctance had been attributed to either religious factors or cultural practices.
He explained that other factors linked to farmers’ inability to insure their poultry farms included their inability to pay the premiums demanded by insurance companies, as well as a poor understanding of what farmers stand to gain by involving insurance companies.
“Some insurance companies require a farmer to pay a 3% or 4% premium to fully access the insurance provisions. In the same vein, Jaiz Bank recently organized a stakeholder meeting for poultry farmers in the state to sensitize them on the benefits of the insurance packages offered by the bank which are in line with religious precepts,” said Kibia.
A poultry farmer, Alhaji Kabiru Abubakar, said the problem of not registering with insurance and other relevant bodies arose when the state was hit by bird flu in 2013 and he was discovered that most poultry farms were operated as sole proprietorships and not corporations.
He added that most poultry farms do not have business accounts, let alone be insured with an insurance company.
“For me, the question is in tune with the way farmers operate and coordinate their operations. Most poultry farmers have failed to consider it a business entity and not a hobby.
“Take the tour, and I’ll bet you that despite the possible losses, you’ll be surprised that most poultry farms aren’t properly registered, and you’ll find that many don’t even have names,” he said. .
Similarly, Malam Musa Usman, a poultry farmer from Kumbutso local government, said there is a need for relevant authorities to embark on a serious awareness campaign on the socio-religious perspectives of engaging with insurance companies. about their farms.
According to him, already, religious scholars have made it clear that there are certain religiously compliant insurance products and farmers can actively participate in them to benefit from them. He added that, unfortunately, only a few poultry farmers in the state knew such a thing existed.
In Jos, PAN Public Relations Officer in Plateau State, Nanji Gambo-Oke, attributed the apathy to a misunderstanding of the benefits of insurance.
Ms Gambo-Oke said the insurance policies were not comprehensive, “like most common poultry-related illnesses like Newcastle, infectious bronchitis is not insurance. Very few illnesses are included, including most farmers hardly know about the diseases selected by companies, so farmers are reluctant to purchase insurance policy.
“The life cycle of laying birds, for example, is two years and their insurance policy lasts one year. It is therefore difficult for farmers to consider insuring themselves. And those who have broiler chickens, which have a short life cycle, even when considering getting insurance, before the protocol and bureaucracy of obtaining the desired policy is complete, the birds would have passed their risk period, which is the first three weeks of their life. Thus, the farmer can skip or abandon the insurance search process. In the event of a fire, for example, most farmers barely use electricity, so it is difficult to live with such a disaster, so they do not see the need for insurance,” she said.
She also added that the main reason why farmers are reluctant is that in this part of the world people do not trust insurance companies to pay claims.
Finally, she said the process could be cumbersome as farmers spend most of their time on their farms, so “engaging in these common back and forth activities with Nigerian institutions that are still on the system of manual documentation can be tiring, so farmers would not give in to activities that would take them away from their farms for a long time.And in times of danger or huge loss due to mortality, insurance companies react slowly to inspect, so most of the time we bury the infected birds, and when they finally arrive they will tell you that we have tempered the evidence.
In Niger State, many poultry farmers do not see insurance as important to them.
The Secretary of State for the Association of Poultry Farmers, Mohammed Audi Adamu, told our correspondent: “In Niger State, we work with the National Agricultural Insurance Company, but many poultry farmers in the state do not don’t take it seriously. Only a few have insurance coverage for their poultry farms.
Adamu observed that it took a lot of sensitization for poultry farmers in the state to sign up to the system, saying, “At the moment there is no proper sensitization on the issue of policing in the state. ‘assurance. You know that in general in the north, we don’t deal much with insurance. But if we can take awareness very seriously, a lot of farmers would be interested in it.”
He said, however, that the challenge faced by a few farmers registered with the National Agricultural Insurance Corporation was the delay in compensation when the need for financial increase arose.
“As we are facing the challenge of bird flu, now is a good time to get insurance. But surprisingly, the insurance policy does not cover bird flu,” he said.
By Vincent A. Yusuf (Abuja), Ibrahim Musa Giginyu (Kano), Dickson Adama (Jos) & Abubakar Akote (Minna)