Yesterday we held our September conference call, which looked into how microinsurance for crops can help protect poor farmers against the effects of climate change. The recording of the call is now available on our website.
Our speaker Richard Leftley eloquently explained the massive impact that microinsurance has had in the countries his organisation, MicroEnsure, works. He described how many small farmers in Malawi do not plant all the land they have access to because they do not have enough seed. Their yields are therefore consistently low, and Richard explained that during Malawi’s ‘hungry season’ – the period towards the end of the rainy season when the old food stocks are exhausted and the new harvest not yet ready – most poor farmers expect to lose at least one member of their family in bad years.
With microinsurance to cover the risk that their investment will be lost and threatening a dangerous cycle of debt, farmers are able to access loans to invest in planting more of their land. As a result yields have commonly increased by up to three times. MicroEnsure’s customers can now survive the hungry season without fearing for the vulnerable members of their family – the children and the elderly.
Microinsurance has such huge potential as protection against weather-related disasters , which are becoming more common as a result of climate change, and as a way to kick-start the rural financial markets and economy. But there are many factors preventing it from being scaled up to reach more of the 500 million small farmers in the world. In particular, Richard described the lack of weather data with which to design and monitor insurance schemes. In order to extend the benefits that have been seen in countries where microinsurance is up and running, investment in weather stations is crucial.
Our action this month is to write to your MP to tell them this powerful story and to ask them to push our government to support microinsurance in the climate change negotiations and in the UK’s ‘Fast Start’ financing for climate change adaptation. If you weren’t able to join us on the call, do listen to the recording and take the action. If you need any support please get in touch with us in the RESULTS office.