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Insurance System Aids Eleuthera Farmers (Nassau Guardian)
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Posted by:Jan 13th 2007, 07:31:39 am
Fig Tree News TeamInsurance system to aid farmers
By BARRY WILLIAMS, Guardian Staff Reporter
barry@nasguard.com

An insurance protocol is being designed in The Bahamas to help farmers bounce back faster from natural disasters.

The instrument being developed by The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has been dubbed the Coupon Insurance System. It uses the same principles of indexing and parametric techniques as the World Bank's Caribbean Catastrophe Risk and Insurance facility to come up with premiums and payouts.

Dr Dunstan Campbell, the FAO representative in Jamaica, says the system will also be used as a model to benefit small farm operations and fishermen throughout the Caribbean on islands prone to natural disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes.

The insurance deal would benefit those who may not be eligible for assistance from the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk and Insurance facility.

Other sectors of the economy have stepped up disaster management efforts. More security for the agricultural and fisheries industry is a welcome gesture, say local farmers.

Two years ago, some were grief-stricken by the destructive impact Hurricanes Jeannie and Frances had on their livelihoods. Crops in the Abacos, Eleuthera and Andros were affected.

World Bank figures peg the impact of natural disasters on the region between $700 million and $3.3 billion between the years 1970 and 1999.

For Bahamians, the new insurance protocol could also help ensure that seed money for business startups is not wasted investment by better protecting them against nature disaster. However, farmers must take some responsibility as well, says Campbell. They are encouraged to utilize proper farming techniques that could help to soften the impact of natural disasters.

The Bahamas was spared from hurricanes this season, but the general trend for the collective Caribbean is an increase in those stories. Here the agricultural sector is being revived with the help of government lending agencies and through other resources, such as technical assistance and training. This latest agricultural insurance scheme could further boost the local industry.

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