Yesterday, we exclusively reported that Econet was working to launch a new insurance service for smallholder farmers called EcoFarmer. Econet just issued a press statement announcing the product. Our report yesterday covers most of what the product is but here’s the new information from the statement:
- Econet is implementing this in partnership with Seed Co, a regional agriculture inputs company with roots in Zimbabwe.
- Mobile telephony base stations will be used to monitor rainfall, temperature and humidity in the area of the insured farmers. The information produced will be the basis of granting a payout or not. We’re guessing this guards the insurer from losses caused by other things like cattle feeding on the crop, or poor farming methods leading to low yield etc..
- Farmers will be able to make a financial claim if their crops fail because of either inadequate or excessive rainfall. If the rain does not fall, resulting in a drought, the farmer will be given as much as $100 for every 10 kg seed pack planted.
- The Mashonaland East pilot programmer will last until November this year and March 2014. yesterday we had incorrectly suggested that they have completed the pilot.
What’s not clear in the announcement is the insurance company that Econet is working with. In the past, for the EcoLife project at least, Econet worked with First Mutual Life. In terms of the role of EcoCash, it still looks like it’s facilitating the payments part of the transactions that is; buying the seed, paying for insurance, and being paid payouts when due.