Expert proposes insuring African small farmers against price, climate volatility

Patrick Guillaumont

An expert is calling for price and weather-indexed insurance schemes to be provided to protect African small farmers vulnerable to rainfall and temperature volatility, due to climate change, and to international price volatility.

The expert made the point during a plenary session on Natural Resource Management, Bio-Fuels, Food Security and Sustainable Development, at the just-ended sixth African Economic Conference (AEC) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

According to experts, about 800 million people are considered malnourished worldwide of which 190 million reside in sub-Sahara Africa.

Prof. Patrick Guillaumont, a Professor emeritus at Auvergne University said small farmers on the continent are also becoming vulnerable to both climate change and international price volatility, which is impacting domestic markets.

Prof. Guillaumont therefore called for stabilisation or insurance not to be limited to the macro level but to include small farmers as well to protect them from risks caused by climate change and those associated with the volatility and recurrent fall of international prices being transmitted to producers.

According to him, the continent must prioritise investment in agriculture, with adaptation in mind, as well as a rationale of international or national price stabilisation schemes and the use of aid as an instrument of stabilisation.

“This fight against price volatility has become mainly understood as avoiding price spikes. The last food crisis was more severe because it was connected with the global crisis,” Guillaumont said.

Mr. Olanrewaju Smith of the International Trypanotolerance Centre in The Gambia also suggested that the situation of food insecure Africans could be mitigated by intervening in short-term emergency activities and long-term responses to transform African agriculture from subsistence to a business venture, according to the African Development Bank (AfDB).

Meanwhile, the AfDB has urged governments to help African farmers with better technology to help feed the growing population on the continent.

Presenting a paper on “Extensification versus Intensification: Revisiting the Role of Land in African Agriculture Growth” during the sixth AEC, AfDB’s principal evaluation officer, Guy Blaise Nkamleu, urged governments to boost agricultural productivity by increasing support for the development and adoption of appropriate technologies in their countries.

By Ekow Quandzie

1 Comment
  1. Kibrom Tadesse says

    I think Crop index insurance is a fashion for economists and a scheme for insurance companies to make money off new climate change funds. If we look closely at how these insurance schemes are designed, we will know that it will be of no help to the farmers. Let’s focus on adaptation, let’s invest!

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