Supporting a national rice insurance scheme in Thailand
Thailand is one of the world’s top rice producers. Rice farming is prevalent across the entire country and provides large parts of the population with their livelihoods. However, rice farmers in the country face the latent threat of natural disasters, in particular floods and droughts. To address this, a rice insurance scheme, complementing the Government Disaster Relief Programme, was launched together with the Thai General Insurance Association (www.tgia.org) a decade ago, offering further financial assistance to farmers whose crops have been damaged by destructive weather conditions.
Unfortunately, a typical problem of such traditional crop insurance schemes is that their administration costs are often too high in the early stages when they do not yet have the critical mass of policies to make them viable for their key stakeholders, ie governments, insurance companies and farmers. To overcome this obstacle and scale up the scheme, we have worked closely with the Thai government over the last two years.
As a result of these efforts, the scheme was approved for a milestone budget of THB 3 billion (approximately USD 90 million) in 2016, with the goal of covering two million rice farmers. The plan for the future is to extend the scheme to further crops and to widen the policy covers.