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Insurance move gives farmers a harvest of renewed hope

China Daily by Zhang Yue, May 2, 2017 Adjust font size:

Major grain producing areas, such as Anhui and Hubei provinces, have been vulnerable to flooding, storms, drought and other extreme weather events. When heavy rains triggered floods in central and southern China in 2016, washing away homes, causing landslides and flooding farmland, the damage resulted in overall losses of $20 billion.

Xu Haibo, director of an agricultural cooperative in Anhui, raised the issue of the high standards required for insurance claims with Premier Li Keqiang in January when he was invited to give suggestions for the 2017 Government Work Report at a meeting chaired by the premier.

The State Council, China's Cabinet, studied and researched information from related departments to make adjustments to meet the urgent needs of new agricultural entities.

In Li's work report in March, the premier asked authorities to provide disaster insurance for farmers engaging in appropriately scaled farming operations, and for financial funds to be utilized when necessary.

He also urged improving insurance coverage rates and compensation standards, and enhancing the reinsurance system.

A slew of incentives will be put in place to provide disaster insurance for farmers to enhance their ability to fight against disasters and safeguard their incomes while further promoting the development of the agricultural sector, as urged by Li during the April 26 meeting.

Agriculture serves as the key foundation for economic growth, as well as improving people's livelihoods, and the country's No 1 central document has been devoted to agriculture, farmers and rural areas in recent years.

The document this year urged deepening supply-side structural reform in agriculture to cultivate new drivers in the sector, urging better innovation and diversity from the supply side in meeting market demands.

The upcoming policy will also increase government insurance subsidies for some central and western piloting regions.

Zhou Li, professor of agriculture and rural development at Renmin University, said current government subsidies are still inadequate to meet farmers' demands in the face of disasters.

The new increase in subsidies from the government will serve as a good incentive for both farmers and insurance companies to join the new disaster insurance initiative.


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