Govt pins hope on drought insurance

Source: Govt pins hope on drought insurance -Newsday Zimbabwe

GOVERNMENT anticipates a “significant payout” from the Africa Risk Capacity (ARC) for the 2023/24 agricultural season to avert the impact of a looming drought.

ARC is a specialised agency of the African Union established in 2012 to help member states improve their capacities to better plan, prepare and respond to effects of extreme weather events and natural disasters.

 

The agency partners with governments, development partners and donors to deliver its mandate.

In her remarks at a media briefing on disaster risk management and financing in Bulawayo yesterday, Judith Rusike, director for the Financial and Capital Markets Department in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, said the payout will help the country avert the impact of drought.

“We envisage a transformed society that proactively manages disaster risks. This can be successfully achieved with the collaboration of the media stakeholders,” Rusike said.

“It is indeed gratifying for us to have participated in and benefitted from ARC’s limited pool during the 2019/2020 agricultural season, which resulted in a US$1,4 million payout, complemented by a US$290 000 which was extended to the World Food Programme and supported over 180 000 households in the highly vulnerable districts.

“A significant payout is anticipated for the 2023/24 agriculture season given the prevailing El Niño weather condition affecting agriculture production.”

Government and humanitarian agencies estimate that at least 2,7 million people face hunger this year due to an El Niño-induced drought.

Zimbabwe’s staple maize harvest is expected to halve to 1,1 million tonnes this year.

Rusike said the ARC payouts complement the early response intervention measures to the impending crisis.

Zimbabwe started participating in the ARC drought insurance pool in 2019/20 agriculture season to ensure availability of pre-arranged finance in event of a drought.

“It is a sobering finding that natural disasters are increasing in frequency and severity, and developing countries are the most affected given the high levels of vulnerability and limited coping mechanisms,” she said.

“The sovereign drought insurance provided by ARC, is one of the disaster risk financing instruments implemented in the country providing access to rapid and predictable financing in the event of a drought, thereby, ensuring food security and livelihoods of vulnerable populations.”

The Finance ministry, in partnership with ARC and development partners, are rolling out advocacy and awareness activities targeting stakeholders that include the media, political leadership and senior government officials.

It is envisaged that this will guide sound policy recommendations in climate risk financing space and ensure continuity of the climate risk financing work mainstreamed within the government system.

Rusike said the media plays a key role in promoting disaster risk reduction policies and in advancing the disaster risk reduction agendas at global, national and local levels.

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