Insuring smallholder farmers from extreme weather


Weather is a risk insidious in the agriculture sector. Farmers globally are struggling with the changing climate patterns, rising cost of production and unfriendly legislation on different aspects of farming. As a result, they need to be increasingly efficient in their management practices.

Despite the fact that there have been advances in agricultural technologies that enable farmers integrate the use of high-yield certified seed varieties and good management practices, weather still remains a major constraint. From plantation to harvest – precipitation, temperature sunshine hours and wind can affect the quality and quantity of crop.

During an interactive session at the Fin4Ag conference in Nairobi on Agriculture risk management and finance, the issue of changing of rainfall patterns really came out from the discussions.

“The increase in rainfall during the harvest season and dry spell during the planting season have affected most of the farmers in different parts f the world. We need to seek ways to compensate them in case of such scenarios”, pointed another delegate.

Weather index insurance was among the topic discussed where stakeholders were requested to initiate crop insurance programmes to help compensate farmers in case of climatic hazards by the use of weather data.

“Once the weather data has been obtained, an index can be derived by reviewing how the weather variables have impacted crop yields over time, a weather index will account for the impact of weather factors on crops during different stages of development”, said one of the participant.

According to Rahab Kariuki, Principal Officer at the Agriculture and Climate Risk Enterprise (ACRE), Kilimo Salama (“Safe Agriculture”) is an insurance designed for maize and wheat farmers that enables them to insure their farm inputs against drought and excess rain in some parts in Kenya.

“Agricultural micro insurance can effectively reduce the impact of severe weather as well as support increased investment in farm productivity. Insured farmers find themselves able to buy certified seeds and invest in fertilizer instead of planting relief seed and forgoing investing in soil nutrients. In the years following droughts, insured farmers are able to continue farming as before the drought, while their uninsured neighbors continue to feel the impact of drought until several seasons after the drought”, said Kariuki.

Kariuki added that agricultural micro insurance can have a real impact on food security and for this reason, developing affordable and relevant agricultural micro insurance is critical.

Photo credit: IFPRI

Blogpost by Caleb Kemboi, Social Reporter for the Fin4Ag Conference.

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CTA is a joint international institution of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the European Union (EU). CTA operates under the framework of the Cotonou Agreement and is funded by the EU.