The Council of Agriculture (COA), Executive Yuan, held a press conference on Dec. 29 on Agricultural Insurance Act which is set to be enacted on Jan. 1, 2021. The conference was hosted by COA Minister Chen Chi-chung, who invited representatives from both Fishermen and Farmers Associations to attend the conference. The COA stated that the implementation of the said act is an important milestone in the development of agricultural insurance in Taiwan, which vows to create a good farming environment for farmers and fishermen to work safely.
The Agricultural Insurance Act completed the third reading process on May 12, 2020 in the Legislative Yuan under high consensus. Minister Chen expressed his gratitude towards the support that the government has received from all sectors in promoting Agricultural Insurance. The act will be officially implemented in January of 2021 along with relevant regulations and complementary policies. It is set to expand insurance coverage, standardize operational procedures, provide farmers with premium subsidies and rewarding measures, integrate with relevant agricultural policies and measures, enhance agricultural insurance performance, and assist farmers to reduce operational risks.
Minister Chen further explained that Taiwan is frequently ravaged by natural disasters which often lead to devastating agricultural losses. In order to secure steady income for the farmers, the COA has pushed forward the trial implementation of agricultural insurance since 2017. Up until November of 2020, a total of 21 items have been included to the program. Furthermore, a total of 33 insurance policies have been created, with 56,000 insured, and reaching a total area of 93,000 hectares of insured land. As for insurance claim, the program has already made NTD 300 million in payment, accounting for 9200 cases. Taking rice insurance for example, in the first half year of 2020 the poor harvest of rice all across the country caused by low temperature, a total of 29 townships reached the claim standard, and the claim amount exceeded NTD 100 million in insurance claim, among which NTD 76 million alone was paid to 16 townships in Hualien and Taitung Counties to cover for the loss suffered by rice farmers.
At the press conference, a group of farmers and fishermen who have received insurance compensation shared their stories of how to lower operational risks through insurance. Mr. Pan, a young farmer from Hualian said that rice is particularly susceptible to typhoon and blast disease, now that the COA is promoting rice insurance which only requires insurers to share 10% of the premium, that is why he recommended everyone joining the program as a countermeasure against crop loss. Another young farmer from Pingtung, Mr. Chen, who joined the Parametric Aquaculture Insurance scheme in 2017 and 2018, explained how he quickly received compensation for the economic damage caused by typhoon’s heavy rainfall, which greatly helped him recover from the financial loss.
Moreover, Minister Chen reiterated that in order to effectively diversify agricultural insurance risks, the government will establish the Agricultural Insurance Fund for the purpose of implementing risk spreading mechanism, which in turn seeks the services of professional mutual fund managers to oversee and utilize the funds from farmers’ premium payments. The risks of agricultural insurance are dispersed abroad through re-insurance arrangements, so that more farmers to join the program. With the insurance in place, farmers will no longer be at the mercy of the elements.
The enactment of the Agricultural Insurance Act not only shows the determination of the government to promote agricultural insurance, but also carries forward the affection of our society towards our land, farmers and agriculture. 2021 marks the inauguration of agricultural insurance. In order to continue the policies implemented during the trial period as well as to enhance protection towards agricultural operations, the COA will complete relevant regulations, construct an integrated operational mechanism, intensify promotion of agricultural insurance, increase number of covered items, and expand insurance coverage to fulfill its duty of looking after our farmers, thus ensuring our farmers’ hard work can be better guaranteed from the government.