Farmers May Soon Get Insurance Cover for Crop Damage Caused by Elephants (India)


Nikhil M Ghanekar, DNA

Date Published

Farmers may soon get insurance cover for crop damages caused by
elephant raids and migration under Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana.
The Union environment ministry is in talks with the agriculture
ministry on the issue, and is expected to soon move an official
proposal on the issue. Union environment, forest and climate change
minister Prakash Javadekar has agreed to the proposal in-principle,
senior officials from the ministry said.

The Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana provides for insurance cover
against crop loss caused by natural calamities. Farmers have to pay 2%
premium for all Kharif crops and 1.5% for all Rabi crops while in the
case of annual commercial and horticultural crops, 5% premium has to
be paid.

According to the last official estimation study, there are more than
30,000 elephants in the country across 16 states with high
concentration in north-eastern states and southern states. Elephants
cover large distances in herds and they raid croplands for food or
cross through them during migrations, causing major crop damages and
financial losses to farmers.

Obstruction of the natural migratory path of elephants, fragmentation
of elephant corridors due to human interference and lack of legal
protection for elephant corridors are some of the chief causes of
elephants raiding crops or entering habitation, ministry officials

“Crop raiding by elephants happens frequently in north-eastern states,
eastern states and southern states. From forested areas, elephants are
known to migrate long distances through human habitations and
croplands. This often happens at night and thus curbing crop damage is
extremely difficult,” said a senior official from environment

As per official data, in 2014-15 alone, Rs 34.5 crore worth
compensation was paid for crop damages due to elephants by Centre and
State agencies. In 2013-14 and 2012-13 the compensation paid was Rs30
crore and Rs34 crore respectively. Apart from the crop damages,
human-elephant conflict also claims nearly 400 people and more than
100 elephants each year.

The central-eastern landscape sees some of the worst cases of crop
damages and human-elephant conflict across Odisha, Andhra Pradesh,
Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal. According to
environment ministry data, Odisha sees average crop damage of 14,097
acres, Chhattisgarh has sees 12,230 acres of average crop damage per
year while in West Bengal it is 2500-3000 acres of average crop damage
per year.