Asset 1

Global Go To Think Tank Index (GGTTI) 2020 launched                    111,75 Think Tanks across the world ranked in different categories.                SDPI is ranked 90th among “Top Think Tanks Worldwide (non-US)”.           SDPI stands 11th among Top Think Tanks in South & South East Asia & the Pacific (excluding India).            SDPI notches 33rd position in “Best New Idea or Paradigm Developed by A Think Tank” category.                SDPI remains 42nd in “Best Quality Assurance and Integrity Policies and Procedure” category.              SDPI stands 49th in “Think Tank to Watch in 2020”.            SDPI gets 52nd position among “Best Independent Think Tanks”.                           SDPI becomes 63rd in “Best Advocacy Campaign” category.                   SDPI secures 60th position in “Best Institutional Collaboration Involving Two or More Think Tanks” category.                       SDPI obtains 64th position in “Best Use of Media (Print & Electronic)” category.               SDPI gains 66th position in “Top Environment Policy Tink Tanks” category.                SDPI achieves 76th position in “Think Tanks With Best External Relations/Public Engagement Program” category.                    SDPI notches 99th position in “Top Social Policy Think Tanks”.            SDPI wins 140th position among “Top Domestic Economic Policy Think Tanks”.               SDPI is placed among special non-ranked category of Think Tanks – “Best Policy and Institutional Response to COVID-19”.                                            Owing to COVID-19 outbreak, SDPI staff is working from home from 9am to 5pm five days a week. All our staff members are available on phone, email and/or any other digital/electronic modes of communication during our usual official hours. You can also find all our work related to COVID-19 in orange entries in our publications section below.    The Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) is pleased to announce its Twenty-third Sustainable Development Conference (SDC) from 14 – 17 December 2020 in Islamabad, Pakistan. The overarching theme of this year’s Conference is Sustainable Development in the Times of COVID-19. Read more…       FOOD SECIRITY DASHBOARD: On 4th Nov, SDPI has shared the first prototype of Food Security Dashboard with Dr Moeed Yousaf, the Special Assistant to Prime Minister on  National Security and Economic Outreach in the presence of stakeholders, including Ministry of National Food Security and Research. Provincial and district authorities attended the event in person or through zoom. The dashboard will help the government monitor and regulate the supply chain of essential food commodities.

Farmers see room for improvement in crop loan insurance scheme
In Pakistan, agriculture production challenges primarily stem from environmental and climate-induced disasters.
Pakistan’s economy faced 133 natural disasters since 1995 to 2015, which caused losses of $38.23 billion to the national economy.
About 36 districts of the country are highly vulnerable to risks posed by natural disasters, 68 have medium vulnerability and 52 have low vulnerability against floods and droughts combined.
Along with the threat and disasters caused by climate change, farmers are facing issues of salinity, water scarcity and decreasing groundwater levels which slash their income from crop harvests. Such issues have made it more difficult for them to repay their debt.
With the growing challenges, the demand for agriculture credit from the farmers has gone up in an attempt to improve their harvests. Provision of credit to the agriculture sector reached Rs704.5 billion in fiscal year 2016-17, up 17.8% compared to the previous year.
However, some loopholes have been found in the credit policy, especially in the Crop Loan Insurance Scheme (CLIS).
Sargodha district, which is well known for the production of kinnow, sugarcane and bamboo, is facing the threat of climate change and flooding. Hundreds of villages in the district had been hurt by flooding in Chenab and Jhelum Rivers in 2014.
According to the annual flood report, Sargodha also faced damages from the flood protection structures in 2016. Among credit policies, the CLIS is a unique scheme launched in 2008. It provides credit for five major crops, namely, wheat, rice, sugarcane, cotton and maize. This is accompanied with insurance against natural disasters like flood, drought, hailstorm, pest attack and fire damage.
With support of the government, the insurance premium is subsidised for subsistence farmers, defined as those having up to 25 acres of land for cultivation. However, inefficiencies in the scheme were highlighted by the farmers during a survey conducted in the flood-prone tehsils of Sargodha.
Majority of the farmers have avoided taking formal credit because of their own savings and easy access to loans from informal sources. Some farmers are interested in insurance policy alone, but CLIS offers crop insurance to only those that borrow from banks.
Finally, some of them do not consider insurance policy to be in line with Islamic principles.
Farmers say borrowing from informal sources like individual lenders in their areas is easy and quick. They do not even face any difficulty in paying back the loans as these are mostly interest-free.
Policy drawbacks
Highlighting the inefficiencies in the formal insurance policy, they point to the late declaration of calamity by the government as a major issue. After that, the bank or insurance company concerned sends their representative or an independent consultant to assess the loss. This causes a delay of around six months.
Owing to the delay, the assessment of field losses is not accurate. The assessors, most of the time, rely on prediction rather than actual data. After the assessment, slow disbursement of insurance claims takes at least another month.
These drawbacks force the farmers to borrow from informal sources for planting their next crop.
The money paid in insurance claims is also meagre that neither covers the loss nor the input cost. Moreover, political influence is another hidden factor found during consultation with the farmers as such influences play a role in whether or not a village should be declared calamity-stricken. Apart from these, absence of political support leads to negligence of villages that are severely affected by disasters but are never declared calamity-hit.
Farmers also complain about lower resilience against natural disasters and climate change, which is the outcome of a lack of proper guidance by agriculture extension officers and ineffective early warning system.
How to improve things
Though the benefits of CLIS cannot be denied, there is always room for improvement. Suggestions given by the farmers can provide useful input for the policymakers and economists and help the growers to cope with multiple challenges. In order to bring improvement, the farmers recommend effective assessment of individual loss, quick settlement of insurance claims, increase in the amount of claims and giving cover to horticulture as well, especially oranges orchards and vegetable crops.
While Sargodha produces 90% of oranges in the country and generates millions of dollars from exports, the government should also consider including excessive or erratic rains, hailstorms and pest attacks along with floods in CLIS.
One of the key suggestions is to provide crop insurance without linking it with formal credit at least in major growing areas. The current CLIS mechanism depends on damage-based insurance, but it can be improved by developing a weather or yield-based index.
Such agriculture credit policies are successfully functioning in neighbouring countries such as India. They will help speed up the process of effective and individual loss assessment to clear the way for releasing claims before the start of plantations in the next season.
Such changes will bolster farmers and help them achieve sustainable agriculture growth including citrus production in Sargodha.
The writer is a research assistant at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute, Islamabad


This article was originally published at:

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint or stance of SDPI.