Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyialis presented to MPs on Monday the new agriculture insurance scheme the government aims to introduce next year to upgrade the existing system.
Speaking to the House agriculture committee, Kouyialis said that the government will not close down the Agriculture Insurance Organisation (OGA) but it would run by as few people as possible. He added that agriculture insurance would also be offered by private companies but participation will be voluntary.
The OGA, was established in 1978, and its mission was to provide compulsory insurance coverage to farmers against damage caused by unavoidable natural causes. But the government decided to either close it down or make drastic changes as to its way of operation, as its operational expenses were too high. This means that it is unable to provide insurance coverage to farmers and the government is called to pick up the tab each year whenever compensations are in order.
Kouyialis said that contributions to the new scheme would be 50 per cent by the farmers and 50 per cent by the government. OGA, he said, will not be closed down but the majority of its staff will be transferred to the agriculture ministry.
OGA, he said, will become a modern insurance institution and will be used to insure risks that could not be insured so far.
“This government believes in the institution of agricultural insurance, but the way the institution was operating has collapsed,” he said.