Nigeria and Morocco have set up a steering committee to develop a sustainable crop insurance scheme for the country.
The Committee, comprising representatives of the Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC), Bank of Agriculture, the Moroccan Agricultural Insurance Company (MAMDA) and MAMDA RE.
In developing the insurance scheme, the committee is expected to use parametric products and leverage on the Moroccan model for crops covering selected areas of between 5000 and 10,000 hectares of land.
The Managing Director of NAIC, Mrs. Folashade Joseph made this known in Abuja at the inauguration of the committee.
Joseph said the establishment of the committee was another step by government towards boosting agriculture as an alternative revenue earner for the country given the volatile nature and uncertain future of oil which was until now the mainstay of the economy.
With the growing challenges posed to agriculture by climate change, she said there was need for Nigerian farmers to accept climate smart agriculture and embrace agricultural risk management.
According to Joseph, NAIC would continue to develop partnership agreements and collaborate with international partners to develop and deploy insurance products that will help in managing emerging risks.
The NAIC Chief Executive traced the new initiative to the visit of King Mohammed VI of Morocco to Nigeria in December 2016, during which he and President Muhammadu Buhari initiated 15 bilateral agreements on trade, agriculture as well as the oil and gas sector between the two countries.
As a follow up to that, she said that NAIC last month paid a working visit to MAMDA RE in Morocco to further activate the terms of the agreement and to understudy the Moroccan experience in the development and deployment of Area Yield Index Insurance products.
Joseph said the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) had been NAIC's strongest partner for over 30 years and assured the bank of NAIC's continued support in the provision of risk management services to agricultural investors and farmers financed by BOA.
She also assured BOA of prompt payment of claims to farmers on its insurance platform as well as the development of new insurance products and services to manage the peculiar risks of the agricultural sector.
In his remarks, the Managing Director, Bank of Agriculture, Alhaji Kabiru Mohammed said although his bank and NAIC had enjoyed a good relationship over a long time, there were new developments that made it important for them to strengthen the partnership to facilitate the realisation of the objections of the federal government in repositioning agriculture.
Mohammed said emerging realities in the country had made it an imperative to change the mindset of farmers from the thinking that farming was no more than a traditional occupation.
He said there was big money in agriculture but that those engaged in it must do it properly and strategically if they want to make profit.
The BOA Chief Executive said there was need for his bank and NAIC to partner in collective marketing and information sharing.
He said the bank was already looking beyond government intervention and was discussing with international development partners and investors as a way of boosting agriculture in the country.
Mohammed said the inauguration of the committee was part of the effort towards internationalising the existing collaboration among the relevant stakeholders in the sector.