By Ebere Nwoji
The Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC) has said that tomato farmers will get no compensation for losses incurred during the outbreak of ‘tomato Ebola Virus’ in different parts of the country.
The Corporation explained that its role is different from that of the National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA), adding it cannot provide succour to the farmers in the loss since there was no insurance cover for their farms.
The Deputy General Manager Business Development of NAIC, Mr. Bashir Martins, who stated this while fielding questions from journalists during a media retreat organised by the Insurance Industry Consultative Council in Abeokuta, Ogun State, said before the outbreak of the tomato Ebola Virus, no tomato farmer insured his farm against such risk.
Against this backdrop, he said there will be no compensation for them from NAIC’s end.
He described the tomato virus as a fundamental risk that cannot be estimated or calculated adding that it was one of the worst risks farmers could be exposed to.
According to him, if the farmers had considered the uncertainty nature of agric risk and insured their farms, NAIC would have immediately come to their aid.
In May, there was outbreak of tomato moth in the northern part of the country, which destroyed over 80 percent of tomatoes planted by farmers in the region.
Nigerian farmers described the outbreak as ‘tomato Ebola’, the deadly disease that devastated West Africa in 2014.
The moth with botanical name Tuta absoluta, destroyed over 80 percent of the tomato planted in the country, resulting in skyrocketing price of tomato in different parts of the country.
For instance, during the epidemic, a wholesale basket containing hundreds of tomatoes sold for N42,000 ($212), up from N300 price before the outbreak.
Reports said that over 200 tomato farmers in kaduna, the state worst hit suffered over N1billion loss on account of the virus. It was also reported that government sent agric experts to Kenya to develop a strategy to combat the brown moth, which lays eggs on tomato plants and develops into a hungry caterpillar that feeds on the leaves, stems and fruit.
Martins said insurance is a financial tool used to transfer risks inherent in an activity, via the payment of premium adding that it involves the exchange of a relative small payment (premium) for protection from uncertain but potentially larger losses.
According to him, insurance combines the loss faced by a large number of individuals who contribute equitably to a common (fund) pool, which is used to pay losses due to any individual in the pool.