In 2015 and early 2016, a severe drought drastically reduced water supplies and agricultural production in South Africa. Maize and other crops did not grow, livestock was threatened to starve. Especially smallholder farmers and their families were heavily impacted not only by losing their income but also risking going hungry. Economic loss from the drought was estimated close to half a billion USD.
Although insurance could effectively reduce the vulnerability of smallholder farmers towards extreme weather events like drought, as of today less than one percent have access to agricultural insurance - thus leaving an estimated 1.7 million smallholder and subsistence farmers in South Africa uninsured against weather related risks. Although the Department of Agriculture has a disaster relief programme, its ex-post financing has proven not to be timely and has led to a significant number of these farmers being left destitute due to delays associated with the current programme in place. Hence, Adam Maniki Rakgalakane, Managing Director of Land Bank Insurance Company, emphasises the relevance of the innovative insurance product: “With the support of the InsuResilience Solution Fund we will develop a drought insurance solution for smallholder farmers, which will allow faster pay-outs and relief in case of a drought.