By RABECCA CHIPANTA –
MORE than 60,000 farming households are insured against drought and other adverse weather conditions in Zambia in the 2015/2016 farming season.
This implies that approximately 380,000 people in rural households have access to drought insurance, while more than 300,000 people also have access to funeral insurance through coverage of the 60,000 farming households in the current season.
Musika communications and outreach manager Pamela Hamasaka said in a statement yesterday that the significant scale-up had been facilitated by a collaborative partnership between Musika, Financial Sector Deepening Zambia (FSDZ), Mayfair Insurance Company Zambia Limited, and Focus General Insurance Limited.
The products were developed with the support of Risk Shield Consultants Limited.
Ms Hamasaka said this was achieved by securing partnerships with a range of distribution channels including a contract farming operation, a farmer organisation, an international agency, and by linking the insurance products with the Government’s Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) e-voucher pilot programme.
“In total, approximately 58,800 small-scale farmers and 80 medium-scale farmers have been insured, with an effective outreach to more than 60,000 farming households,” she said.
Ms Hamasaka said an economic value of approximately K70 million had been insured.
Additionally, more than 50,000 farmers were being covered with life insurance through a product which provided packaged weather index and funeral insurance coverage, together with farm inputs on credit.
Risk Shield Consultants actuary and managing director Agrotosh Mookerjee said the firm, in partnership with key stakeholders in the insurance and agriculture sectors, planned to increase the number of insured farming households to 500,000 in the next farming season.
Mr Mookerjee said the most crucial process of monitoring the weather and servicing the current products was currently on-going and that they would continue to work closely with the Government and private sector partners to achieve the goal.
Risk Shield chief operations officer Joseph Kakweza said with what was turning out to be an extremely harsh El Nino season, the organisation had partnered effectively with some of the largest agro-business and farmer organisations in the Southern African region to implement drought insurance and other covers in more than 200 locations in 20 districts throughout Zambia
Musika managing director Reuben Banda said, as an organisation that stimulates and supports private investment in the smallholder and rural markets, Musika partnered with FSDZ to provide both financial and technical support to Focus General Insurance and Mayfair Insurance Company towards the development of weather index and other agricultural insurance products for the lower-end market.
“With an increasingly unpredictable climate, weather index insurance is an important climate smart agriculture approach that plays a critical role in cushioning some of the key climate risks and building climate resilience of smallholder farmers,” he said.
Mayfair Insurance Zambia managing director Humphrey Kabwe expressed excitement at being part of an ‘innovative and brave’ partnership in bringing products and services that were meaningful to a market segment that had remained unserved for many years in the insurance business.