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The Sh50 scratchcard pioneering microsinsurance for Kenyan farmers

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By George Munene

Kenyan insurance surveyor Acre Africa, has developed a pioneering micro-insurance product tailored to help guard smallholder farmers against climate change. Dubbed Bima Pima (‘insurance in affordable bits’) farmers buy a scratchcard that is activated with as little as Sh 50.

Only three per cent of small-scale Sub-Saharan African farmers are insured. This is even lower in Kenya at 2.4%, with farmers citing the high cost of insurance premiums as the main reason for this. Smallscale farmers account for 78 per cent of the country’s agricultural output.

“At the start of the agricultural season, a farmer buys a Bima Pima scratch card with a bag of seeds or fertilizer, activates the card through his phone, pays an initial premium of Sh 50 ($.50 cents), and can top-up via SMS to increase the level of insurance coverage. ACRE Africa then geo-tags the farm using the mobile localization service,” said Acre Africa’s Ms. Muthithi Kinyanjui, Head of Partnerships and Market Systems to the World Bank journal. 

The company serves over 70,000 farmers across 15 counties in Kenya.

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Acre Africa (Agriculture and Climate Risk Enterprise Ltd), is an insurance agent in Rwanda and Tanzania and a licensed insurance intermediary in Kenya; working with local insurers and other stakeholders in the agricultural insurance value chain.

The company, which is a beneficiary of the World Bank’s One Million Farmers Platform (OMFP), uses satellite and weather station data to measure for drought or excess rain on a farmer’s land which informs their payouts to farmers. This money is paid directly to their mobile account.

A premium of Sh50, has a potential payout of up to 10%, the equivalent to Sh500 which could help a farmer purchase a seedling bag.

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“A few days before harvesting, I received an MPESA message from Acre Africa which was a pleasant surprise. I had forgotten that I had purchased a Sh 50 insurance card during a session where they explained that I would be compensated in case of insufficient rainfall,” said Mary Mate, a farmer from Embu County. “Now that I see it works, I will continue to purchase this cover.”

According to World Bank Senior Agriculture Economist Vinay Vutukuru, the success of BIMA PIMA is a forward-thinking approach that If scaled up and emulated, can potentially propel crop insurance to greater heights and support the sector’s transformation and resilience.

Acre Africa: +254 719 249 615  

                    [email protected]


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