Giving smallholder farmers access to insurance

Soil moisture, Insurance & Banking

ACRE Africa and VanderSat have joined forces to develop drought insurance that is geared to the needs of smallholder maize farmers in Kenya. The aMaizing insurance product offers protection to vulnerable farmers who are critically exposed to climate variability.

Successful pilots involving 4500 smallholder maize farmers were completed in 2019, with a further 10,000 targeted for 2020. A scaling strategy is in place which will see our joint operation reaching out to farmers across Kenya and East Africa.

ACRE Africa offers a rainfall-based index insurance product based on ground weather stations or coarse-resolution satellite data. These sources are limited in terms of providing consistent data backed by long-term data records. Unless the index can reflect crop yield outcome accurately and reliably, basis risk will remain high – a major issue in developing and offering index insurance products. To reduce basis risk, high-resolution data sources are needed. Sources that are better equipped to capture the agricultural impact of climate variability.


The characteristics of VanderSat’s soil moisture dataset enabled ACRE Africa to develop a first-rate drought insurance product. The high temporal and spatial resolution of VanderSat’s data has led to a reduction in the basis risk of parametric drought insurance products.

ACRE Africa and VanderSat have been working together since 2016 to help make financial services more accessible to smallholder farmers. Our joint team of remote-sensing experts and insurance specialists collaborate closely to develop and distribute high quality insurance products to smallholder farmers so that we can scale our business together.

George Kuria (CEO, ACRE Africa): “ACRE Africa business is built around providing agricultural risk solutions with a clear mandate to impact smallholder farmers across sub-sahara Africa. The soil moisture index developed in collaboration with VanderSat will provide improved resolution of up to 100 meters, which will enables us monitor individual farm fields accurately and hence improve our products.”

“This will be a game changing innovation for the sector.”

Let's talk about scaling crop insurance to smallholder farmers

It’s all good as long as it’s understood

Lexy Ratering Arntz MSc
Head of Impact

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