Insurance startup Pula to pay Kirinyaga farmers for March-May losses


Workers transporting farm produce using a cart pulled by donkeys in Mwea, Kirinyaga County on February 19, 2020. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Kenyan agriculture insurance startup Pula in partnership with Apollo Agriculture and APA Insurance on Tuesday announced a Sh9.16 million initial payout to 833 insured farmers in Kirinyaga County for losses incurred during the 2021 March April May season, through its area yield insurance product.

The insurance product was developed by Pula to protect smallholder farmers from systemic risks such as floods, drought, diseases and pests that significantly affect farm yield.

“Due to various yield systemic risks, farmers are having to cope with unpredictable rain patterns, frequent droughts and even the emergence of new pests," said Rose Goslinga chief executive and co-founder of Pula Advisors in a statement.

APA Insurance is the lead insurer, Apollo Agriculture is the client, and Pula is the service provider who designed the AreaYield Index product and did risk assessment to determine the claims for the smallholder farmers.

Last year, Pula raised $6 million (Sh660 million) from global venture capital backers for Africa and Asia expansion.

The Nairobi-based Pula that specialises in digital and agricultural insurance to derisk smallholder farmers across 13 markets in Africa said at the time the funding will help boost its local expansion in Kenya and beyond the African continent.

Founded by Goslinga and Thomas Njeru in 2015, Pula says it delivers agricultural insurance and digital products to help smallholder farmers navigate climate risks, improve their farming practices and bolster their incomes over time.

Small farmers produce up to 80 percent of the food supply in Africa and Asia and face a 90 percent chance of crop loss due to factors outside of their control, such as pest outbreaks and severe drought.

But most of these farmers don’t have any form of crop insurance. If they lose their crops, they lose their income, and can only pray for a better harvest next season.

Pula says it provides farmers with insurance bundled with inputs (such as seeds and fertiliser) and farmer advisory services to help increase their yields and boost (and protect) their income.