In Africa, agricultural insurance often falls on stony ground

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JACKSON LEWANGU looks up at the clouds scudding above the dry plains of northern Kenya. And, somewhere higher still, a satellite looks down on him. Since 2012 Mr Lewangu, who keeps goats and cattle, has bought insurance designed by the International Livestock Research Institute, based in Nairobi. The satellite monitors vegetation; when it is unusually scarce, he gets a payout. He can then buy food for his animals or pay a rancher for access to grazing land, without which his cows would die.

Insurance could bring peace of mind to Africa’s pastoralists. It could also help the continent’s crop farmers, whose fields are almost entirely rain-fed. But Mr Lewangu’s neighbours are unconvinced. The satellite gives false information, says one woman; there is no payout in good years, complains another. Such scepticism is typical. Although schemes have proliferated in the past decade, almost all are...

via The Economist: Finance and economics Business Feeds

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