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Scaling up index insurance for smallholder farmers

The report Scaling up index insurance for smallholder farmers from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), published in January 2015, examines evidence from five case studies of insurance for smallholder farmers and pastoralists. A few common features appear to have contributed to recent progress:

  • explicitly targeting obstacles to improving farmer income;
  • integration of insurance with other development interventions;
  • giving farmers a voice in the design of products;
  • investing in local capacity; and
  • investing in science-based index development.

In India, national index insurance programmes have reached over 30 million farmers through a mandatory link with agricultural credit and strong government support. In East Africa (Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania), the Agriculture and Climate Risk Enterprise (ACRE) has recently scaled to reach nearly 200,000 farmers, bundling index insurance with agricultural credit and farm inputs. ACRE has built on strong partnerships with regional initiatives such as M-PESA mobile banking. In Ethiopia and Senegal, the R4 Rural Resilience Initiative has scaled unsubsidized index insurance to over 20,000 poor smallholder farmers who were previously considered uninsurable, using insurance as an integral part of a comprehensive risk management portfolio. With strong public and private sector support, the Mongolia Index-Based Livestock Insurance Project (IBLIP) insures more than 15,000 nomadic herders and links commercial insurance with a government disaster safety net. Finally, the Index-Based Livestock Insurance (IBLI) project in Kenya and Ethiopia demonstrates innovative approaches to insuring poor nomadic pastoralists in challenging circumstances.

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Sarah Cummings
30 January 2015

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