Successful piloting of bundled risk solutions leads to the scaling of new indexed crop insurance and technology practices in South Asia
Working with partners across CGIAR, scientists at the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE) piloted a bundled agricultural technologies innovation that expedited payouts to more than 15,000 flood-affected farm households and indirectly benefited another 125,000 farmers in South Asia.
Through 2021, WLE, in collaboration with the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food, lead center International Water Management Institute, and external partners, piloted bundled services to reduce farmers’ risks in producing maize, wheat, and rice. This CGIAR-led innovation included index-based flood insurance (IBFI), climate-resilient seeds, and agroclimatic services.
From 2017 to 2021, nearly 15,000 households received flood insurance payments of USD 170,000 in India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. In Bangladesh, the program developed the first satellite-based flood insurance product and tested it with over 8,000 households. In 2019/2020, households received payments of approximately USD 81,500.
In India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, nearly 15,000 households received flood insurance payments, reducing farmers’ risks from growing maize, wheat, and rice.
In 2021, Green Delta Insurance Company Limited scaled the IBFI product to more than 100,000 households in Bangladesh. Weather Risk Management Services Private Limited, an agriculture and dairy risk company, offered bundled services to 25,000 households.
In Sri Lanka and India, CGIAR and partners disseminated climate advisory messages to more than 35,000 households via mobile phone. These messages offered tips on changing weather patterns, such as using specific seed varieties, techniques to conserve water, and timing of specific activities.
In Sri Lanka and India, WLE and partners shared climate advisory messages with more than 35,000 households via mobile phone, providing tips on changing weather patterns and techniques for water conservation.
Considerable effort was made to ensure that the IBFI product was available to the poorest, most marginalized farmers, including women, by working with Oxfam and insurance companies to overcome impediments to uptake.
Noting the initiative’s success, the Government of India and state governments agreed to consider this approach as part of the flagship Prime Minister’s Crop Insurance Scheme. Different scenarios have been explored, including scaling out in larger districts or states through insurance companies, with a larger role for disaster risk financing. IBFI was also combined with a new initiative for post-flood recovery to provide access to seeds following the flood season, enabling farmers to use soil moisture for crop production.
The CGIAR-led initiative on bundled agricultural technologies provides an opportunity for service providers offering weather-based agronomic advice to partner with insurance and seed companies.
Bundling services offers an alternative to government subsidies and relief. This business model can also be scaled up through public-private partnerships. The CGIAR-led initiative provides an emerging opportunity for service providers offering weather-based agronomic advice to partner with insurance and seed companies.
Investments in bundled services can significantly improve the adaptive capacity of smallholder farmers in the face of climate change, while enhancing livelihoods for women and youth. Over time, these innovations will significantly improve smallholder food and income security in vulnerable regions of Asia and potentially Africa, leading to long-term impacts for resilient development.