CGAP and Pula Partner to Bring Satellite-Based Insurance to Farmers

CGAP and Pula logos

CGAP and Pula Partner to Bring Satellite-Based Agricultural Insurance to Nigerian Smallholders

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 17, 2017 – Today, the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) and Pula Advisors announced their partnership to bring satellite-based agricultural insurance to smallholder farmers in Nigeria.

For Nigeria’s estimated 18 million smallholder farmers, the decision to invest in high-quality seeds, fertilizers and other inputs is not an easy one. While such investments can pay off come harvest time, an unexpected drought or a swarm of birds can just as easily devastate a crop and wipe out the money invested in it. The perennial threat of a bad harvest leads many Nigerians to buy low-quality fertilizers, to not buy enough fertilizers, or to otherwise limit investments in their farms — constraining their future incomes.

A form of agricultural insurance called “area yield index insurance” could provide farmers with the confidence they need to invest in their farms by protecting them from many types of hazards. Area yield index insurance works by determining the average agricultural yield in a defined area. In below-average harvesting seasons, it reimburses farmers in that area for the value insured (for example, the value of the seeds and fertilizers they used that year). For providers, the advantage of this type of insurance is that sampling yields for the area removes the need to visit each individual farm. Even so, determining average yields remains costly. Year after year, it requires providers to pay trained auditors to conduct detailed yield measurements in remote areas.

In Nigeria, CGAP and Pula will be working with a consortium of insurance and agribusiness companies to bring an area yield index insurance product to market that reimburses farmers in-kind for fertilizers they purchased ahead of below-average harvests. The partnership’s goal will be to lower the cost of offering this product by enabling providers to use satellite imagery instead of auditors to determine average yields.  

“We hope that the high-quality yield and satellite data available today will enable local insurers and Pula Advisors to create an innovative yield predictive model that decreases the cost of area yield index insurance. At the end of the day, we want to make this product more accessible to smallholder families, allowing them to invest with more confidence and increase their yields,” said Emilio Hernandez, who leads CGAP’s work with smallholders.

“Pula has found that area yield insurance is easy for farmers to understand and accept, as it covers them from a wide range of catastrophes that threaten their harvests and is measured through tangible farm visits. That said, making sure those visits are done most cost effectively, at speed and without missing out on areas where farms suffered is a key challenge, particularly in a country as vast as Nigeria. We are thrilled to work with CGAP to solve this challenge and believe it can make this type of insurance scale across smallholder farmers in Nigeria and beyond,” said Rose Goslinga, who founded Pula in 2015.

About CGAP

CGAP is an independent think tank that works to empower poor people to capture opportunities and build resilience through financial services. We test, learn and develop innovative solutions through practical research and active engagement with our partners on building responsible and inclusive financial systems that help move people out of poverty, protect their gains and advance global development goals. Housed at the World Bank, CGAP is supported by over 30 leading development organizations committed to making financial services meet the needs of poor people.

About Pula Advisors

Pula is an enterprise that is radically restructuring agricultural insurance, using technology to increase and protect the incomes and yields of billion smallholders worldwide. Pula works in eight countries across Africa and Asia and in 2016 alone facilitated crop and livestock insurance cover to 400,000 farmers in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Malawi. Its founders’ work in agriculture insurance has been recognized by several international awards, including the Financial Times/IFC Award for Sustainable Finance. Pula works with Fortune 500 companies, global NGO’s, microfinance institutions, research institutions and governments to help provide smallholders the protection they need in an increasingly unpredictable climate.