CHENNAI: Picture-based loss assessment can help improve transparency in crop insurance, said Berber Kramer, Research Fellow with the US-based International Food Research Policy Institute, on Wednesday.
Speaking at a seminar on ‘Innovative Solutions to Agricultural Risk Management in the Context of India’s Crop Insurance Schemes” organised by MS Swaminathan Research Foundation, she said picture-based assessment helps in identifying the right beneficiaries for payouts.
In this approach, farmers are required to take pictures of their fields during various stages of the crop cycle so authorities can see if the fields have indeed been maintained well and the insurance not misused.
“Farmers are happy to adopt this method because it also helps them monitor their crops for weeds or pests,” said Kramer.
In a study undertaken in Punjab and Haryana, it was found that 80 per cent of the farmers uploaded at least one usable picture during the cropping season and that the farmers’ education and experience with smart phones did not matter.
Speaking on the challenges in Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), India’s main crop insurance scheme, Kramer said the crop cutting experiments to establish area yield lacked transparency. It was difficult to implement for horticultural crops while also ignores the environmental benefits of Climate-Smart Agriculture, among other challenges.
Kramer suggested introduction of smart subsidies to reduce residue burning among farmers after paddy harvest. She also stressed that it was critical to bundle insurance with service providers.