Farmers lobby for multi-peril

With the grains industry estimated to bring in $12.38 billion to the Australian economy, multi-peril crop insurance (MPCI) has received an extra boost from Victoria’s peak agricultural organisation.

Victorian Farmers Federation Grains Group (VFF) President Brett Hosking says farmers in Victoria need real insurance against the elements if multi-billion dollar industry is to be properly protected.

“Farmers need peace of mind against unpredictable weather conditions and multi-peril crop insurance is a reasonable answer,” Hosking says.

VFF Grains put forward a resolution to lobby the federal government to commit funding for developing a commercially sustainable MPCI market, which will enable the industry to self-insure against production risk and climate variability.

“It is paramount that we continue to discuss the options available to us, as well as argue for government support,” Hosking says.

Hosking adds that many farmers have recently experienced two consecutive years of drought, when just five years ago the state’s growers were challenged by extreme flooding.

“Insurance will give incentives for continued post-drought farm expenditure, which will improve productivity in seasons immediately after droughts and ensure our small rural communities don’t suffer through lack of spending,” he says.

VFF’s push for a MPCI solution comes just weeks after the Western Australian Farmers Federation co-hosted a workshop on the issue with the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).

“Western Australian weather can be incredibly varied and severe, and as global warming continues to impact the climate in our state, the importance of having insurance against weather events cannot be overstated,” WAFarmers CEO Stephen Brown says.
“We believe this product, when fully matured and developed, has the potential to be the next big thing in agriculture, de-risking the operations of many farmers in highly volatile rainfall areas.”

MPCI was the key focus of VFF’s annual conference in Horsham last week.