Agriculture Insurance Turning Around Farmers’ Lives in East Africa
Thursday, February 12, 2015
Jackie Kiconco sits in her garden with her right hand supporting her chin. Her eyes are gazing across the maize garden that she had planted but because of late rainfall, the seeds failed to germinate.
The 50-year-old smallholder farmer gazes to my direction with a stare that suggests: “come and I tell you my story’. When I ask her what happened she responds ‘My son, I am ‘finished’. This is the only maize garden I had planted. The rains did not come as I expected. My other garden of beans suffered the same fate and now I have nothing to feed my children,” she sadly narrates.
Kiconco is just one of the millions of small hold famers in East Africa who face several risks, including erratic rainfall, flooding and subsequent diseases as a result of climate change; land tenure; access rights; and land management; credit access; access to input and output markets; infrastructure; extension services; institutional problems; and more recently the global financial, food, and fuel price crises.
The majority of farmers in Uganda and other East African countries are suffering, with some even becoming destitute because of the above risks and yet there is a solution to such risks.
One potential risk transfer tool is agricultural micro insurance because it effectively creates a safety net for farmers to enable and encourage them to invest in their farms and raise productivity, increase food security, and reduce the risks financial institutions face when lending in agriculture.
Some farmers in Kenya and Rwanda are already going an extra mile to insure their crops against various risks in the agricultural value chains using products designed by the Agriculture and Climate Risk Enterprise Ltd (ACRE) known by its trade name Acre Africa.