Crop insurance scheme, launched as pilot projects in three districts, has so far settled claims worth over Tk 3.2 million on total 1,373 policies issued by the Sadharan Bima Corporation (SBC) giving a big support to farmers who suffered losses due to vagaries of nature.
It fetched Tk 800,000 as premiums from the farmers.
However, it has only settled approximately Tk 2.18 million in Sirajganj district for crop losses.
Wasiful Hoq, project director at the weather index-based crop insurance project, told the FE that there were 500 policies in Sirajganj and the farmers gave premiums at the rate of Tk 250 for a bigha and the government gave Tk 325 including VAT as subsidy.
"There are some farmers who got maximum Tk 8,000 as compensation depending on their losses in the district [Sirajganj]," Mr Hoq said.
There were rainfall and high winds beyond the set limit that had affected crops in Sirajganj.
The Weather Index-Based Crop Insurance pilot project was rolled out in Rajshahi, Sirajganj and Noakhali by SBC in March 2014.
Of the Tk 213.4 million project cost, Asian Development Bank provided Tk 163.8 million while the government bore the rest.
SBC settled claims of Tk 1.75 million against 5,399 policies during first three phases of the pilot project, each lasting for a season of some three to four months.
General Manager (claims) Vivekananda Saha, other high officials of the SBC and Meteorological Office joined the claim settlement programme in Sirajganj.
However, the work of the fifth pilot project in Rajshahi is now going on for Aman paddy.
The project has taken a number of measures to make the farmers aware about crop insurance.
At present, the insurance scheme provides coverage for crop losses inflicted by natural disasters such as hails, droughts and floods.
It, however, does not cover damages caused by flash floods as the weather index cannot measure its intensity and hence the damage.
Farmers in Bangladesh are vulnerable to vagaries of nature while climate change has made the country even more susceptible to floods and tropical cyclones.
But farmers do not get protection as traditional insurers have been unable to offer suitable crop insurance schemes.
Crop insurance scheme is very popular in India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Mexico and the Philippines.
The governments there pay huge subsidy in crop insurance.
The crop insurance is a new concept, which protects farmers from the effects of adverse weather.
There is huge potential for crop insurance because the loss is measured in a scientific method, Mr Hoq said.
Under the ongoing pilot project, 20 automated machines for observing the weather have been installed on the roofs of upazila parishad buildings.