By Edith Gondwe – The Daily Times

NICO General Insurance Company on Thursday disbursed MK1.5 milIion compensation to 23 member farmers of Kabwafu Agriculture Trust in Mzimba whose tobacco was destroyed by hailstorm that hit the area in 2012.

The reimbursement was done through NBS Bank from which the farmers got loan facilities and insured their tobacco prior to the 2012 growing season.

“There are several benefits if farmers insure crops. As NICO, we provide cover for the crop starting from the field, when it is being processed and when it is being transported to the auction floors,” said NICO General Marketing Manager Harry Mhone.

“Farmers need to be sensitised on the benefits of insurance because currently there are many farmers who do not understand the significance of insurance and have a perception that that insurance companies only want to rob.”

NBS Senior Service Centre Manager for Mzuzu Tryson Kalanda concurred with Mhone, saying the delay in refunding the farmers was as a result of knowledge gaps on insurance issues by the affected farmers.

“If farmers who were affected by the hailstorm documented their claims on time and submitted it to the bank, they would have been compensated earlier because we follow procedtues,” said Kalanda.

Kabwafu Agriculture Trust Board Chairperson, Senior Chief Mpherembe, said although NICO delayed in compensating the farmers, the compensation is good news, saying some farmers almost gave up on the matter.