Back in October RESULTS held a briefing for our grassroots activists on how microinsurance can help to protect poor farmers in the developing world against the impact of climate change, and also contribute to unlocking rural credit markets enabling small farmers to access better seeds and fertilisers to improve their outputs. We encouraged our activists to write to their MPs to push for UK support for scaling up the provision of microinsurance.
This past week we have started to receive some responses from the Department for International Development, which have been extremely positive. In a letter to Mark Field MP, Stephen O’Brien the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development writes:
The Department for International Development believe that micro-insurance could be important in helping small farmers cope with and recover from climate related losses. It can help increase farmers’ credit worthiness, allowing them to invest in tools such as new seeds, fertilizers and equipment.
Mr O’Brien rightly points out that microinsurance is a fairly new area and there are lots of things still to learn, for example which models of microinsurance are the most effective. Encouragingly, he says that
The UK Government is looking at what works in setting up such schemes, how to get insurance companies engaged, how to make insurance affordable for poorer farmers, and how to maximise value for money from such schemes.
Initial results from the Department’s scoping work are due by the end of the year, and according to Mr O’Brien will be used to determine how they support microinsurance and their approach to ‘Fast Start’ climate funding.
It is very positive that DFID are taking such a proactive role in looking to support microinsurance for poor farmers. We will be continuing to monitor developments in this area, so watch this space!