Leadway Assurance, Others Provide N110m Compensation To Crop Farmers

Leadway Holdings

Leadway Assurance Company Limited, in partnership with Heifer Project International and Pula Advisors, has announced a claims payout totaling N110 million to ginger crop farmers in Kaduna State. The farmers, managed by the AFEX Commodity Exchange, suffered significant losses during the 2023 wet season.

The 2023 wet season insurance claims payout ceremony under the “Naija Unlock Signature Programme” which took place on Thursday, saw the insurer and its partners present the compensation payout to 1,138 ginger smallholder farmers.

The farmers’ losses were caused by a widespread outbreak of the Fusarium fungal pathogen (Ginger blight), which led to the drying up of leaves, the inhibited growth of rhizomes, and ultimately the decay of ginger crops. The disease affected nearly all ginger farmers in Nigeria in 2023, resulting in a dramatic decline in crop yields and substantial financial setbacks.

Speaking at the claims payout ceremony, head of regional technical services, agriculture at Leadway Assurance, Mr Ayoola Fatona stated, “Agriculture is essential to the livelihoods of our communities, particularly smallholder farmers, and plays a key role in ensuring our nation’s food security. It is in line with this commitment and understanding that we partnered with Heifer International and Pula Advisors to swiftly respond to this urgent situation and mitigate the losses of over 1,138 farmers.

“This partnership has been actively involved in ensuring that climate-induced challenges in the agricultural sector are tackled in order to ensure that smallholder farmers’ confidence is bolstered, food production guaranteed, and food systems resilience is mainstreamed in our attempt to support the government’s ongoing drive to address food security challenges. We are able to achieve this by ensuring that farmers’ claims are verified, catalogued and processed expeditiously anytime they suffer from harvest losses.” 

Also, country director, Heifer Project International, Dr Lekan Tobe stated it was a momentous gathering for Heifer in conjunction with its partners to further show its renewed commitment to smallholder farmers and ensure “we prioritise the continuity of their businesses despite prevailing climate challenges. Insurance is instrumental to renewing hope and mitigating losses; through this partnership and claims paid, we are confident that these farmers are properly positioned to thrive and further add their quota to the agricultural sector in Nigeria”

Commenting on the strategic partnership, country manager, West Africa Anglophone, Pula Advisors, Chukwuma Kalu said it was critical that the partnership is not a one-off collaboration. “We look forward to and have made plans to extend this initiative to smallholder farmers across Nigeria. At PULA, we are setting a roadmap with a focus on sensitisation and education for farmers to be aware and take advantage of these interventions towards bolstering food security in our country.”

Heifer Project International, a global non-profit, pre-financed the insurance premiums for the farmers at the beginning of the season providing a repayment option post-harvest. Pula Advisors, a leader in agricultural insurance innovation, streamlined the claims assessment and payout process, ensuring transparency and efficiency in delivering financial support to the farmers. 

AFEX Commodity Exchange, being one of foremost commodity aggregators in Nigeria with an expansive network of smallholder farmers, continues to blaze the trail by supporting small-holder farming and increasing food productivity through its innovative value-chain financing model which leverages on insurance.

The organisers of the cheque presentation ceremony said the event bears testimony to the impact of mitigating against agricultural risks that are currently experienced by the Nigerian smallholder farmers; wherein losses due to pests, diseases, climate change, and other critical factors have necessitated the inclusion of insurance in their farming programme to protect their investments against crop or harvest failures emanating from climate change perils. 

The partnership that culminated in the presentation of monies to the affected farmers follows similar successful initiatives, such as the introduction of Area Yield Index Insurance (AYII) in 2022 to support Nigerian rice farmers. The programme is aimed to counteract climate-induced challenges and restore confidence among smallholder farmers in the agricultural sector.

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