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Women exhibit a strong desire for agricultural index-based insurance

TAFADZWA MURANGANWA

 

Women, who make up 60% of smallholder farmers in Zimbabwe, have expressed excitement over the introduction of the agriculture index insurance, which protects vulnerable households against specific weather shocks like drought, flooding, and hail, among others.

 

According to Sibongile Siwela, the director for insurance and microfinance at the Insurance and Pensions Commission (IPEC) and multiple economists who spoke with this publication, there has been a significant uptake from women across the nation.

 

Emilia Chitondo, a potato farmer in Makoni, will always remember 2019 as the year that her potato plants were completely destroyed by the destructive floods and winds caused by Cyclone Idai, leaving her to count her losses.

 

“In 2019 I  nearly got into depression as I had taken a loan to grow potatoes on a four hectare plot which I had rented but Cyclone Idai hit  leaving me with nothing.

 

” The owner of the piece of land I was renting couldn’t hear my  plea when  this disaster struck that I was not able to pay him,” narrates Chitondo.

 

Chitondo, like many other small-scale farmers, lacked crop insurance.

However,she  has vowed to take up insurance for her crops.

 

Speaking to journalists during the third session of the Journalism Mentorship Programme, Siwela said there was a huge appetite among farmers to insure under the agriculture index insurance.

 

“We (have)  partnered International Finance Corporation (IFC) to develop agriculture index insurance and capacitate the industry.

” We have piloted the project in Goromonzi  and I can attest that there is a huge appetite by farmers across the country to venture into this type of insurance, “Siwela said.

 

Economist, Martha Ndarova  concurred saying women  are the biggest beneficiary of such a  kind of insurance.

 

” Given that most  women farmers are financially excluded while they are more prone to climate change, it then needs such alternatives to cushion them from the shocks brought by climate change effects.

 

” I  am sure they will not squander such a worthy opportunity ,” she opined.

 

Siwela spells out how the payout is determined.

 

“The payout is based on a predetermined index and not on actual loss suffered. Examples are area yield and weather index insurance.

 

” Area yield index insurance- payout based on realized average yield of a unit area of insurance such as province,ecological zone or district deemed to have similar average yields across its breadth

 

” Weather Index Insurance-it uses weather parameters such as rainfall as an index to determine payouts,” explained Siwela.


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