Africa

Enhancing access to information for women in pastoral areas

A recent CTA workshop on ‘making next-generation ACP agriculture work for women’ identified seven critical success factors to enable women to truly benefit from agriculture: access by women to investment and finance, access to markets, skills support, networking and capacity development, access to information, knowledge and technology, access to land, overcoming socio-cultural factors, and appropriate recognition of women (in society, in policies, through targeted delivery of services).

A story from the workshop by Rupsha Banerjee argues that the current revolution in information access offers opportunities to transform and extend opportunities for women pastoralists in East Africa – enhancing their livelihoods and resilience. She calls for a ‘blended’ approach combining use of mobile phones, radio, and face-to-face communication, informed by a thorough understanding of the capacities of women and the institutions who work with them, building on local and community-based institutions, providing incentives for good quality data, and engaging local governments.

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Watch an interview with Rupsha:

Why women are among the best clients for livestock insurance in East Africa

A recent CTA workshop on ‘making next-generation ACP agriculture work for women’ identified seven critical success factors to enable women to truly benefit from agriculture: access by women to investment and finance, access to markets, skills support, networking and capacity development, access to information, knowledge and technology, access to land, overcoming socio-cultural factors, and appropriate recognition of women (in society, in policies, through targeted delivery of services).

A story from the workshop by Rupsha Banerjee, Eric Mwaura and Sabdiyo Dido asks why women pastoralists in East Africa – who are not usually significant livestock owners – are major customers for IBLI’s livestock insurance product. Reasons suggested include that women’s access to micro-loans enables them to access a financial service such as IBLI,  women do own small ruminants so have an interest in insurance, and increasing sedentarisation of the pastoral community which means that women are becoming household decision-makers.

As initiatives such as IBLI are being scaled out across East Africa, it is essential to develop a deeper understanding of the factors that motivate livestock owners – both women and men – to invest in such insurance.

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Watch an interview with Rupsha:

Why direct climate funding to African farmers will pay off

As the world descends on Morocco for the annual United Nations climate conference, the host nation is championing an unlikely hero: African agriculture.

After launching the ambitious Adaptation of African Agriculture (AAA) initiative in September, the Moroccan government seeks to mobilise $30bn of investment for the sector that is under the most significant threat from climate change, in the region that is the least equipped to deal with it. According to current estimates, the negative effects of climate change are already reducing Africa’s GDP by about 1.4 per cent, and the costs arising from adaptation to climate change are set to reach an annual three per cent of GDP by 2030. A principal victim of this is the agriculture sector, which not only feeds the chronically food-insecure continent, but forms the backbone of its economy and its route out of poverty.

A new study out this week led by the International Fund for Agricultural Development shows that Morocco’s approach may well be on the right track. It confirms that investment in climate-sensitive approaches for smallholder farmers can more than double farmer incomes – meaning directing climate funding for adaptation in African agriculture would make both climate and economic sense.

However, Africa currently only attracts around 5 per cent of climate funding. This is despite the fact that six of the 10 countries most affected by climate change are in Africa, and every single African nation that submitted climate adaptation strategies to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris last year, included agriculture in its plans. Read more

How satellites and insurance are securing livestock in East Africa

In many parts of East Africa livestock provide the livelihoods for many herders and pastoralists who, especially with climate change on the rise, are often faced with severe threats from droughts

A particularly bad drought could wipe out most of a herders livestock, leaving them without a source of food or income and with little recourse. It’s a problem that inspired Andrew Mude and his colleagues to launch Index-Based Livestock Insurance, a technology-enabled insurance program to protect herders against the devastating effects of drought.

Developed in partnership with International Livestock Research Institute, Cornell University and University of California Davis, IBLI uses data gathered by satellite to create a vegetation index that can be used to track the density of vegetation available to pastoralists. When the available food for livestock falls below an agreed upon threshold, it indicates there is a drought and the IBLI program compensates herders and pastoralists if they suffer a loss.

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Characterizing Regional Suitability for Index Based Livestock Insurance

Pastoral populations of Sub-Saharan Africa are particularly vulnerable to environmental shocks, which contribute to livestock mortality and therefore losses in both wealth and productive assets. Although conventional insurance mechanisms covering individual losses are generally not cost effective  (page 2) in low-income pastoral communities that engage in extensive grazing, index insurance for livestock offers a promising alternative. Unlike traditional loss-based insurance, index based insurance uses an external indicator to approximate losses on an aggregate level over a particular area. Index insurance is also less susceptible to moral hazard because payout is independent of an insured client’s individual behavior, and less susceptible to adverse selection because the index is created from external variables unrelated to individual-specific risk. These advantages motivate the design behind the International Livestock Research Institute’s novel index based livestock insurance (IBLI) product.…..continue reading

Kenyan accepts 2016 Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application at World Food Prize Event in Iowa

ILRI news

d8_mudeandrew_speaking8 Andrew Mude, speaking at an event announcing his award held at ILRI
in Nairobi, Kenya, 30 Aug 2016 (photo credit: ILRI/Susan MacMillan).

Researcher Andrew Mude and colleagues are also receiving
today a USAID ‘Award for Scientific Excellence’.

Both awards honour innovative use of
satellite technology and community outreach
to develop livestock insurance for
vulnerable herding communities in the Horn of Africa.

Andrew Mude, an economist and principal scientist at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), is being presented with the 2016 Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application today, 12 Oct 2016, for his work leading an innovative livestock insurance program that employs satellite data to help protect livestock herding communities in the Horn of Africa from the devastating effects of drought.

The accolade, named to honour the legendary crop scientist and Nobel Prize winner, will be presented to Mude by Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin at a…

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