Agriculture cannot forever remain subject to the mercy of the weather
When Cyclone Fani swept through the country, an estimated Tk38.5 crore worth of crops were damaged, adversely affecting the lives of nearly 14,000 farmers.
This is not the first time farmers have been hit hard by bad weather, and it will not be the last -- and since nobody can control the weather, a viable mechanism needs to be in place to protect farmers from these losses.
It is good to see that the government has not forgotten the fate of the farmers -- the agriculture minister has pledged to compensate farmers for their losses by providing seeds, fertilizers, and cash money under a program to be implemented by next year, after a list of affected farmers has been compiled.
The initiative is a noble one, and no doubt farmers are right to expect some form of compensation, but a better solution to the problem may be proper crop insurance.
Agriculture cannot forever remain subject to the mercy of the weather; like any other profitable, viable business activity, farming should be insured, with all the risks taken into account.
Already, there are some crop insurance programs at play, which allow farmers to claim compensation from the insurer after certain conditions of damage have been met, such as cyclones or tropical storms in the area of a certain magnitude, or when rainfall rises above a certain level.
Crop insurance also empowers farmers to plan for, and save for, a longer term, even after keeping in mind the possibility of having their crops destroyed by adverse weather events.