BusinessDay
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The pandemic that routed Nigerian farmers in June

When one mentions the word ‘pandemic’, there is a high probability that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) immediately comes to mind. This reaction is understandable because most people consider the outbreak of the virus infection across the world as the highlight of 2020.

However, in June 2020, some livestock farmers in Nigeria experienced another devastating form of pandemic that wrecked their multi-billion Naira investments.

Known as the African Swine Fever (ASF), a highly contagious haemorrhagic disease of wild and domesticated pigs, this virus created a pandemic of its own when it ravaged West Africa’s largest pig farm in Nigeria. The Lagos State Government’s managed 30 hectares Oke-Aro pig co-operative settlement located in the outskirt of Lagos, which houses about 5000 pens lost over 4.9 billion Naira worth of pigs when the virus struck.

The Secretary to the farm told BusinessDay that the ASF virus outbreak which last occurred about ten years ago killed about 300,000 pigs in the June 2020 outbreak.

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According to the publication, Africa Farmers Story, the virus, first identified in Kenya in 1907, is known to impact severe economic and production loss on pig farmers. ASF can be spread through direct or indirect contact with infected pigs but is not a health risk to humans. Unfortunately, it has no vaccine or cure and can only be controlled during an outbreak with intense sanitation measures, cleansing and disinfection, zoning control, surveillance, and strict biosecurity measures.

The losses incurred by about 3,000 Oke-Aro farmers have both devastating economic and psychological effects on the farmers. One of the farmers, Mr Ayo Omirin, told the BBC; “we have lost four farmers as a result of shock, two of them slumped and died on the farm.” It is reported that another thirty are currently hospitalised from the trauma of the loss and the reality that they may not be able to repay the millions of Naira worth of loans taken out to support their farms.

“Since the outbreak in our pig farm estate, it has been devastating. I have lost 500 pigs to the disease,” Bernard, one of the farmers told BusinessDay. “This is my only source of income, and the loss I have incurred so far is alarming,” Okechukwu, another farmer in the estate told the newspaper.

What is apparent is that most of these farmers have no insurance cover; hence many are watching their investments, some of which are backed by borrowed funds from development and commercial banks, go down the drain. This is indeed a pandemic.

Leadway Assurance’s Head of Agric Insurance, Mr Ayoola Fatona said no farmer should be hospitalised over a loss of investments. “My heart and sympathy goes out to the Oke-Aro farmers as well as others in Delta State and elsewhere in Nigeria, for these overwhelming losses. I make bold to say that these losses are recoverable with the appropriate insurance cover by Leadway. It is at this stage that insurers like Leadway would have stepped in to provide succour and compensation to affected farmers. Working for an organisation that has paid the highest insurance claims in Nigeria over the last five years, I am very sad to learn that some of the farmers have died or hospitalised from the shock of these losses. These outcomes are avoidable with insurance. Insurance gives you peace of mind and offers financial protection when losses as a result of pandemic occur, thereby ploughing the farmers back to prosperity.” He also mentioned that some of the farmers that purchased the insurance cover from Leadway have been fully compensated.

Indeed, Leadway’s Agricultural insurance offers various range of insurance covers for the crop and livestock farms as well as other farming properties. A farmer can procure insurance policy to cover risks on farm produce, crops, poultry, fish farm, livestock, machinery, and equipment against losses from fire, burglary or housebreaking, lightning, flood, explosion, windstorm, earthquake, volcanic eruptions, and even plane crashes. That is not all; the farms are also covered for fire damage(s) to properties from bush burning or forest fires at no extra cost.

To know more about the Leadway’s Agricultural insurance, please call our professional advisors via our virtual communication channels – 08129997042, Social Media handles @LeadwayAssurance on Facebook & Instagram and @Leadwayinsure on Twitter or send an email to Lcs@leadway.com. You can also request a call back from an experienced insurance advisor by visiting www.leadway.com/call-me

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