ICAR-NRC on Mithun and National Insurance Co. Ltd (NIC) deliberated on formulating insurance policy for mithun.

ICAR-NRC on Mithun, Medziphema (Nagaland) conducted a Webinar on "Formulation of Mithun Insurance Policy" in collaboration with National Insurance Co. Ltd (NIC) on 18th September 2020. The webinar was attended by the Scientists and technical officers of ICAR-NRC on Mithun, officials of NIC Head office as well as its regional and branch offices in North Eastern states, representatives of NABARD and officials of the Department of Veterinary & Animal Husbandry of all the mithun rearing states viz, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland.

The Director of ICAR- NRC on Mithun, Dr. Abhijit Mitra in his opening remarks presented the scenario of the mithun production system in the region and highlighted the multidimensional socio-cultural-economic role of Mithun (Bos frontalis), the unique and magnificent bovine species, which serves as an alternative source of livelihood of lakhs of tribal mithun rearing farmers. Dr. Mitra further emphasized the need for formulating an insurance policy for mithun as there is no scope of institutional credit. As such risk coverage under an insurance policy to support the mithun production system and a bankable project is not available because of which mithun farmers are not able to take the benefits of Central Sector schemes including the National Livestock Misson.

Mithun is predominantly found in four states of NE India (viz., Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, and Nagaland). As per the latest livestock census (20th Census, 2019), the mithun population in the country is 3.9 lakh and it has registered a growth of 29.5 percent in comparison to the last census of 2012. 89.7% of the total India mithun population is in Arunachal Pradesh, 5.98% in Nagaland, 2.36% Manipur and 1.02% Mizoram.

Mithun rearing is a viable component in the integrated hill farming system and it helps in conserving the agro-ecological balances and preserving the socio-cultural uniqueness. Mithun has the unique ability to forage on jungle grasses and tree leaves and therefore doesn’t compete for the common food basket of other livestock. Mithuns are primarily reared as a meat animal, however, it can be diversified for milk, draught and leather besides meat.

ICAR-NRCM though already finalized the techno-economic parameters for the formulation of the bankable project on mithun production after a series of consultations with the banking institutions, NABARD and other stakeholders, but lack of an insurance policy for mithun has been a bottleneck. The deliberation made in this Webinar will pave the way in formulating an insurance policy for mithun providing the crucial need for risk management which will be a game-changer towards entrepreneurship development involving Mithun Farmers.

Dr. Kobu Khate, Chief Technical Officer, ICAR-NRCM presented the technical production parameters, methods of animal identification and control measures of commonly prevalent diseases in mithun. The officials of NIC, Kolkata briefed the house about insurance terms and policy coverage. It was followed by an interactive session in which the Directors and officials of the Department of Veterinary & Animal Husbandry of mithun rearing states gave their inputs. Dr. Vineet Bhasin, Principal Scientist from ICAR Headquarter, New Delhi, Prof. S. Pan, Former Professor of WBUVFS, Kolkata and Mr. Sahoo, DGM, NABARD, Nagaland also gave substantial inputs.

Mr. Peter Chittaranjan, General Manager of NIC expressed the commitment of NIC in providing risk coverage to the farmers for different agricultural commodities including Mithun. Mr. Peter while clarifying the queries raised by the stakeholders. assured the house that NIC would formulate an insurance policy for mithun by November 2020 taking all the inputs given by the experts and stakeholders into consideration.

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