Insurance Works! ACRE Africa Providing Safety Nets to Small-Scale Farmers in Kenya
“When the money came through my phone via M-Pesa, I was sure it was a mistake! I was sure someone had erroneously sent me money. So I waited for the sender to call me and demand that I return the money,” Jacinta Mutuse, a farmer from Wote, Makueni County, Kenya, narrates. She had just received about KES 900 (USD 9) on her mobile phone as a payout through the Replanting Guarantee Maize Insurance Product (RPG). The RPG is an index product which covers the risk of poor rainfall during the crops’ germination phase that necessitates replanting.
ACRE Africa monitors the weather at the farmer’s location. An insurance payment is triggered if the weather index indicates the occurrence of adverse weather conditions at the germination phase.
That is how Jacinta received the automatic payout on her mobile phone. About a month before, Jacinta had purchased 10 bags of Duma 43 maize packets from her local agrovet. When she learned from the agrovet about the insurance attached to the Duma 43 maize packets, she was a little skeptical. However, she still registered and planted her seeds over the next few weeks. She initially planted two bags, and then after a few weeks, planted the remaining eight bags. Adverse weather conditions registered on the days she planted the first two bags.
“When no call came through after I received the money, I called the ACRE Africa customer care line. I was then informed that the money was not a mistake. I was very excited. I was also very happy to get the money without me having to contact anyone” Jacinta narrates.
Timely claim settlement allows the customer to purchase another bag of inputs so as not to miss the entire planting season. However, Jacinta opted to meet other household needs.
“I paid a debt with the money. Since it was still not raining in my village, I did not buy another packet of seed,” she explains. “This reimbursement helped me so that I did not have to go through a double loss when the rains failed,” she says.
The 36-year old farmer and mother of one also grows beans, green grams, oranges and vegetables on her 3-acre piece of land. Jacinta mostly farms for subsistence farming, and when she harvests extra, she sells at the nearby Wote market.
“I will buy the Duma 43 even in future planting seasons because the maize seeds retains moisture and gives me higher yields, compared to traditional seed. I encourage my fellow farmers to buy Duma seedsbecause they are guaranteed a payout if the rains fail. The insurance works!” Jacinta concludes.
To find out more about ACRE Africa's BCtA commitments, visit its member page.
 M-Pesa is a mobile phone-based money transfer, financing and microfinancing service launched in 2007 by Vodafone for Safaricom and Vodacom, the largest mobile network operators in Kenya and Tanzania.