Zambian maize farmers receive DK Chilala insurance pay out after erratic rains

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Over 100 maize farmers in  Zambia have received insurance payouts at their local agro dealer via their mobile phones, marking the first payouts issued of DK Chilala Insurance, an innovative micro-insurance programme that protects farmers’ against drought at the onset of the season.

The payments under the DK Chilala programme were triggered when rainfall for the first three weeks of the season were shown to be insufficient in North Western, Copperbelt, Southern, and Northern Provinces.

“This payout is significant and a first for our small holder farmers who need a second chance by minimizing their losses on account of unpredictable weather.  We keep our promises and compensate fast so that farmers purchasing early have a second chance to re-plant,” said Ndavi Muia Monsanto Zambia, Country Lead. “Farmers received payments less than two weeks after the end of their insurance contracts” he added.

DK Chilala is a partnership involving Monsanto Zambia, Focus General Insurance, Pula Advisors and Munich Re. The insurance programme offers farmers who purchase as little as 2kg’s of seed, a free three-week drought insurance coverage at the start of the season.

The insurance policy protects their investment by estimating the rainfall during the onset of the season and uses satellite data to measure the rainfall.

Currently, only about half of Zambian farmers invest in improved seeds for their crops. A key reason for the low demand is the fear among farmers that poor conditions, such as the 2016 drought that decimated harvests and affecting livelihoods.

Catherine Kaluba a farmer in Masaiti District, said: “I am happy that I have received new seed after rain failure in my area. I am looking to plant again with the new seed and hope this time the rains will be better. Because of climate change, people should know that this is the type of farming they should embark on.”

“This is how the system is supposed to work, farmers should feel supported to plant with early rains and take advantage of all the rains in the season. If the rains fail we look to compensate quickly and enable farmers to plant again” says Barbara Mwandila, Managing Director of the FOCUS General Insurance Zambia.

So far thousands of farmers have purchased DK seeds and used their mobile phones to register their insurance. The product is free with all DK products this season and is widely available in Zambia through over 600 registered outlets nationwide. At purchase, farmers will be asked to register their bag using their mobile phone and provide information on their farm location through an automated robo-call.

By using mobile registration and satellite data, the programme has found an easy way to register Zambian farmers with simplified claims process. In fact, by using the satellite data to monitor the rainfall, farmers did not have to lodge a claim at all. “This is yet another way in which mobile technology is changing lives,” says Rose Goslinga of Pula Advisors, (Monsanto Zambia partners). “Previously, such small payouts to rural and remote farmers would have been too expensive. Now, thanks to mobile technology, farmers can see instant benefits of insurance and learn to trust it.”

The programme is offered nationwide and will run to the end of January with all 2,5,10 and 25kg DK bags. So far over 3500 farmers have signed up for the DK Chilala Insurance.

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