By George Munene
Pula, a Kenyan agricultural insurance and technology company, is offering smallholder farmers innovative and affordable crops and livestock insurance cover for as little as Sh500 to Sh1000.
This, coupled with the firm’s digital products such as the Pula mobile app is helping often uninsured and overlooked small-scale farmers endure the risk of yield losses, improve their farming practices and consequently bolster their incomes.
While over 60 percent of Africa’s population constitutes smallholder farmers, the value of premiums for agricultural insurance in Africa represents less than 0.7 percent. This leaves most of the continent’s population in a perilous position given that over 2 billion people in Africa depend to varying degrees on small-scale farming.
This low uptake of insurance by farmers can largely be blamed on extortive premiums and the unreliability of insuring agents.
Founded in 2015 by co-CEOs Thomas Njeru and Rose Goslinga, the company’s operations extend over 13 countries and it has onboarded over 4.6 million African farmers thus far.
Pula registers farmers online through a mobile phone app. Breakthrough technology such as machine learning algorithms is then employed to bunch farmers with similar land profiles. These digital tools are then used in the field to assess claims. Such innovative tools have enabled the company to keep its premiums low and with Brazil and India earmarked as its next frontiers, also grow its business.
“If you use the traditional model of proposal forms and policy documents, the numbers won’t add up,” he said. “To be able to deliver such a low-cost product at that price you have to use technology and most companies don’t have that capacity, ” explained Thomas Njeru to Reuters.
The company works with governments, NGOs, and private sector players to de-risk their agricultural investments as well as accelerate their impact within the agribusiness space. In Kitui, the firm has worked with the World Food Programme (WFP) for the past three years providing crop insurance to some 10,000 farmers and issued crop loss compensations amounting to. Sh82.5 million.
Pula app: Pula
Pula Kenya: email@example.com/