With effects of climate change, farmers should think about crop insurance

It’s now the commencement of growing season 2014B in Rwanda and its agrarian population is running out of time to finish sowing on time. But experience of the recent past has shown that farmers can be disappointed by effects of the climate change at any time. This means that no one is sure 100% that s/he will get good yields, unless weather remains favorable.

Farmers in Gisagara district plowing during the season 2014B launch (Eric Didier Karinaganire)

Farmers in Gisagara district plowing during the season 2014B launch (Eric Didier Karinaganire)

Then such a situation would be the starting point for farmers to look for ways of mitigating losses such as buying weather insurance in case of unfavorable weathers.

Why should you consider buying Weather Insurance?

All farmers are now aware that the weather has become unpredictable which creates risk for farmers, their sponsors, agri-businesses and banks.If it does not rain yields can drop resulting in losses and making it difficult to repay loans.

Now the good news for Rwandan farmers is that, in a bid to protect farmers in the country, the government in 2012 launched an insurance scheme dubbed Hinga Urishingiwe farmers’ insurance scheme which had reportedly attracted up to 50,000 subscriptions by July last year in the Western and Southern provinces that were acting as pilots for the scheme. And recently more than 7000 farmers of the eastern part of Rwanda, who had bought weather insurance, got their remuneration. However, it’s clear that many farmers are yet to embrace the crop insurance scheme.

A farmer gives his views on the effect of climate change and insurance: watch the video

the crop insurance scheme that uses automated weather stations to monitor rainfall variability and drought can help farmers to mitigate losses (Photo: Eric Didier Karinganire)

the crop insurance scheme that uses automated weather stations to monitor rainfall variability and drought can help farmers to mitigate losses (Photo: Eric Didier Karinganire)

Farmer insurance has also worked for Kenya where the Sygenta Foundation, UAP Insurance and the telecommunications company Safaricom run an innovative scheme that compensates farmers in kind with fertilizer and seed for losses to crops like maize, wheat, beans, and sorghum, with the aim of helping them restart farming after a loss.

In Kenya for instance, farmers can insure their seeds under the scheme so that if they don’t harvest enough, they get compensated with seeds for the new season.

Rwanda’s scheme is in partnership with Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Development (SFSA), a Swiss-based organization that helps promote value-addition for smallholder farmers in developing countries, the same organization working with the Kenyan farmers.

If farmers prioritize buying weather insurance the same way they prioritize looking for good seeds, sowing on time, using fertilizer, then we would be really heading to the commercial-based farming that we intend to achieve.

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