The Agriculture and Climate Risk Enterprise (ACRE) makes use of the data from automated weather stations, satellites and other mobile technologies to bring affordable insurance to smallholder farmers in East Africa.

ACRE has become the largest agriculture insurance program in sub-Saharan Africa and the first to leverage mobile technologies to reach smallholder farmers. The primary function of ACRE is to act as a connecting and coordinating agent between local insurance companies and smallholder farmers. ACRE tracks weather-related repayment risk, and encourages insurers to offer a variety of insurance products tailored to smallholders’ needs. In doing so, its activities have also paved the way for larger credit institutions to enter the agricultural insurance and reinsurance market.

For example, ACRE’s replanting guarantee provides drought insurance coverage on individual bags of seeds. The coverage on each bag is activated by texting a code to ACRE and paying the insurance premium via mobile. ACRE then monitors conditions on the farm via satellite imagery for 21 days. In case of drought, farmers are compensated directly with money to their phones.

Why you should care

Over 96% of agricultural land in Kenya and Rwanda is rain-fed and vulnerable to variable rainfall and drought. Consequently, finding viable and affordable ways to manage these weather-related risks is of great importance to food security and economic stability. The insurance products and technologies developed by ACRE offer an approach capable of reaching thousands of remote farmers without amassing high transaction or delivery costs.

How the Global Goals are addressed

No poverty

Access to affordable insurance and micro-finance builds the resilience of farmers vulnerable to climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters.

Zero hunger

Floods and droughts can have disastrous impacts on local food security in the affected rural areas. Tailored insurance products with rapid payout via mobile money can help to ensure people have money to buy food when crops fail.

Decent work and economic growth

A 2012 impact study by the International Finance Corporation showed that farmers insured by ACRE’s products received 16% higher earnings and invested 19% more than the uninsured. In addition, 97% of farmers insured through ACRE received loans linked to their insurance, encouraging economic growth.

Industry, innovation and infrastructure

With its 130 solar-powered and automated weather stations, ACRE can operate without sending inspectors to remote villages to physically verify each claim. This innovation increases productivity and sustainability in the industry.

Climate action

ACRE is projected to reach three million farmers across East Africa by 2018, bringing greater economic security in the face of climate change, improving the adaptive capacity of smallholder farmers.