BAAC crop insurance to cover fruit and dairy farms
The state-owned Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) plans to expand crop insurance to cover fruit and dairy farming in response to farmers' interest in protection against natural disasters.
The bank is conducting a study to offer crop insurance for durian, even though the fruit's price remains high, said executive vice-president Somkiat Kimawaha.
The fruit's peak normally lasts 3-4 years before prices fall, Mr Somkiat said.
Crop insurance in Thailand is limited to rice and corn, while the state-backed farm bank provides insurance for longan and dairy cattle as pilot projects.
Mr Somkiat said farmers are more enthusiastic about taking out crop insurance, as seen by larger insured areas.
Some 1.9 million farmers took out crop insurance for this crop year, in the purchase period that just ended on June 30, to provide coverage for 28.2 million rai of farmland, compared with 27.6 million in the previous year.
Insurance premiums for this crop year amounted to 2.58 billion baht, up from 2.48 billion baht a year earlier.
Moreover, 90,000 farmers took out crop insurance for more than 15 rai, for which the government provided subsidy. The incremental area totalled 1.3 million rai of farmland.
Participating farmers were charged an insurance premium of 59 baht per rai, with the government subsidising 35.40 baht per rai and the BAAC paying 23.60 baht per rai for its customers. Non-BAAC customers must cover the non-subsidy if they have taken out rice insurance.
Crop insurance covers six natural disasters: floods, drought, storms, cold, hail and fires. Under the scheme, farmers receive compensation of 1,260 baht per rai for crops damaged by natural disasters. They can further secure 630 baht per rai for damage caused by pests and disease.
Mr Somkiat said 96,000 farmers claimed rice insurance of 1.27 billion baht in the previous crop year.