access; drought; climate; East; food

SACAU calling for access to farming insurance for smallholder farmers

Smallholder farmers needs access to agricultural insurance to help them mitigate the effects of climate change says the South African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU).

The Union has joined the global call to make agricultural insurance available, in particular to smallholder farmers.

“We understand how farmers across southern Africa have been affected by the challenges of climate change. Smallholder farmers are particularly hard hit by extreme climate events, such as drought and floods,” Ishmael Sunga wrote SACAU CEO in the latest SACAU newsletter.

He said targeted insurance will support climate adaptation by providing funds when farmers are hit by extreme climate events, and allows farmers to adopt farmers to adopt innovations to exploit opportunities when they are available.

According to Sunga, farmers should have access to insurance options that are designed specifically to their circumstances to “reduce vulnerability, unlock opportunity, spur the uptake of climate-smart technologies and practices and to build resilience to a variable and changing climate.”

He said that farmers’ organisation should take the leading role in the facilitation of communication between farmers and role players.

This includes educating farmers on insurance and the responsibility to manage risks. Adding to the organisations should also communicate the farmers’ needs to insurance providers, governments and development roles. In turn, they should facilitate data collection and ensure the uptake of the insurance by farmers.

 Success stories

SACAU adds their voice to global agricultural partners like the Climate Change, Agricultural and Food Security (CGIAR) to promote index- based insurance for farmers to improve their livelihoods in the face of the diminishing effects of climate change.

Examples of previous success stories of insurance based intervention by the CGIAR include the difference index-based livestock insurance payouts made to farmers in northern Kenya during the 2011 drought. According to the CGIAR the distressed sale of animals was reduced by 64% and food rationing was reduced by 43% among poorer families.

The R4 Rural Resilience Initiative in Ethiopia is also another example where farmers were able to increase their savings, purchase more working animals, had better access to credit and invested in farming inputs.

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