Namibia’s Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) recently suggested that there be a national insurance cover for farmers in the southern African country. PDM member Geoffrey Mwilima presented the motion to the National Assembly.
Mwilima cited the recent increases in human-wildlife conflict as one of the reasons for tabling the motion, and proposed that farmers should be fully compensated for any such incidents. “There must be an introduction of an insurance cover policy scheme in place for human-wildlife conflict. This insurance cover policy is an innovative compensation approach, where farmers pay a premium for cover against a defined risk such as livestock deprivation and damage to farm property,” he said.
According to Mwilima, the current scheme, which entails farmers relying on themselves, has not been effective.
“The current compensation schedule of payment needs to be readjusted for equivalent purposes. For instance, it is not possible for the scheme to offset only a mere N$1 000 for crop damages per hectare of maize, whereas a farmer can harvest and get capital output ranging between N$20 000 to N$30 000 from the very same hectare,” he said.
He also believes that this impact farmers dealing with livestock losses, as N$3000 is typically what is paid to a farmer when this happens. This figure, however, does not even cover the cost of a calf on communal Namibian farms.
“It is also observed that this unfair compensation has created tensions in our communities,” he added.
According to Mwilima, farmers do not always recognise or understand the importance of wildlife within the country or their conservation. He said that this has now created a sort of “phobia”, as farmers are now reportedly poaching wild animals to ensure the safety of their livestock.
In addition, Mwilima added that tried-and-true techniques of conflict settlement include initiatives to compensate impacted individual farmers financially for their losses. To be successful, these systems must provide cost-effective verification, equitable and timely payouts, damage prevention incentives, and financial sustainability.