More and more farmers that are concerned about the adverse effects of climate change are buying insurance policies to protect them against potential financial losses due to drought.
In the first three months of 2022, a record number of growers applied for this particular insurance.
In the whole of 2021, premium generation in the agricultural insurance segment amounted to a total of 4.7 billion Turkish Liras (around $320 million), said Serpil Günal, general manager of the agricultural insurance pool (TARSİM).
“However, only in the first three months into 2022, premium generation stood at 3 billion liras, with most of them from the drought insurance. Demand for the drought insurance skyrocketed 300 percent,” she said.
Premium generation in the drought insurance segment was 600 million liras in 2021, but the figure rose to 250 million liras in the first quarter of 2022, according to Günal.
She noted that Turkiye suffered from several natural disasters last year and that drought hit the country’s Central Anatolian and southeastern parts hard.
“There has been a very strong demand for drought insurance from farmers in the provinces of Sivas, Yozgat, Şanlıurfa, Diyarbakır and Mardin. People can buy drought insurance in any region where dry farming is practiced.”
Farmers are taking out this insurance as they anticipate drought, she explained.
According to an annual report released by the Turkish State Meteorological Service, the volume of precipitation across Turkey between Oct. 1, 2020, and Sept. 30, 2021, was the least in the last two decades.
The precipitation decreased by 16 percent compared to rainfalls that occurred a year ago and some 19 percent down from the average of several years, the report said.
A severe drought is not expected this year but the precipitation in April and May is crucial for farmers, Günal said.
She noted that some 21 percent of the registered farmers have taken out government-supported agriculture insurance, but this figure must be higher.
“We aim to cover at least 35 percent of the farmers.”
The main purpose of agriculture insurance is to ease the financial burden of the government in the event of natural disasters which is why more farmers should be included in the system, Günal furthered.
“To make this possible, we are holding talks with the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry. We are working to make agriculture insurance mandatory,” she said.
Günal also said that in the first three months of 2020, 63 million liras under the crop insurance and another 105 million liras under the cattle insurance were paid in damages. “The payments made under the cattle insurance grew by 55 percent compared to the previous year. Moreover, the payments made under the greenhouse insurance amounted to 136 million liras. The main reason for damages occurred at greenhouses was frost and hail, followed by flooding and storms.”