32 Replies to “Rose Goslinga: Crop insurance, an idea worth seeding”

  1. [REPOSTING THIS REPLY] The premium is 2 euros, and they get 200,000 euros if they have a loss or total loss and need to make a claim. That's like five bucks, USD, and a fraction of what they get if anything goes awry with the weather. It's not that much of a premium, even in that part of the world. I always put myself into the deal before I imagine that anyone else should take it. If I were the farmer, I would want that deal. Also, the premiums are set by transparent, and well-researched mathematical and computer models and algorithms that predict relevant weather patterns for each growing season. This is sound, smart science.

    But I know your question was asking the question more rhetorically. I just wanted to add in the above data to the conversation. I think crop insurance is a good idea. But I think the system should be done and administered altruistically, with a light touch. That is, it should be made sustainable, but with not really any/much profit.

    Perhaps the insurance could be done as a co-op, where it's administered and the process compensates the administrators (this woman and whomever is doing her research & computer modeling, etc – maybe it's her!) and accounted for, but where any profits are returned as dividends or equity to the farmers.

    Since you bring up social and economic solutions, I'd like to point out that I don't see how the two can feasibly be totally separated from one another. Nor do I think they should be. Inherently, they are intertwined.

    To that end, co-ops are a VERY good idea for this region, and in general, for both social AND economic justice. As is insurance. But I sense that your skepticism comes in part from how you personally are socialized to think of insurance – as exploitative, rather than salvatory. I understand that, because insurance in the west functions in this manner more often than not. Westerners are more familiar with the insurance industries as profiteers, since that's what insurance means, mostly, throughout the Western world: exorbitant premiums to make exorbitant profits ("for the shareholders", meanwhile the leadership has 9 figure salaries), then shirking the responsibilities to pay claims.

    But it doesn't HAVE to be this way, and this women seems like she has both the passionate advocacy for these people in her heart, as well as the knowledge and the expertise – and that her customers are very happy with the value they are receiving. I see her as an ally, and her idea as excellent and something that should potentially be replicated throughout the world.

  2. Nice thing, but this won't help very long, thanks to the climate change. I think they should keep an eye at closed systems, like greenhouses with no loss of water. That would really help the people in 30 years. Sorry if I made any mistakes.

  3. I believe a better program would be to introduce hardier crops like wild oats and millet. They can survive droughts. Better yet, use a few years to teach people how to conserve water in vats or whatnot. All this insurance business is based on money with no real eating value. Other than that, they might raise crops that retain a lot of water so as to survive droughts.

  4. I would support a non-profit crop insurance program, one that sees a farmer's coop or credit union in charge of the money. That way you don't have to spend years battling the insurance companies when they decide they don't want to pay out.

  5. This is a better strategy that help farmers in Africa sustain their farms by getting them insured and monitor the clouds with satellite.
     In the end, they make great gain

  6. Well here in the US its mandatory. Anything you do to make a living. Anything . They make you pay for insurance. Its all mandatory. All that money goes to billionaires and over head. They say its to protect yourselves. But its really there to protect lawyers and stupid people. And get people rich.

  7. Crop insurance, sounds more like communist style food distribution.   We ended the wheat board in Canada because all the successful farmers were getting tired of paying for the ones that were not.   People are not equal.  Weather happens.  Deal with it. 

  8. I would say insurance is only really worth it to people that don't have enough savings to replace the damage (since on average/and over time insurance has to be more exansive than the damage, since you make costs assesing risk, having administartion, and probably also quite some profit), so this would indeed be a case where insurance is worth it.

  9. Anything insurance is the devil. Thats how they get you to do whatever they please with you. Its mandatory. Its only done the way they want it. Against your will. You pay or you pay.

  10. What African agriculture really needs is an increase in access to domestic markets via improvements in infrastructure and removal of trade barriers between African states, protection against foreign markets particularly food aid which massively devalues food prices and harms farmer profit margins, subsidisation and investment into agriculture to further improve profit margins and allow for faster increases in production, and improved accessibility by farmers to updated market rates across their accessible market via expansion of telecommunications to facilitate trade. 

    While this insurance serves a purpose, that purpose is not to achieve a long term improvement of productivity. Its purpose is to reduce the volatility of agricultural yields. This is a valuable purpose, but it is not for free. Insurance companies, like the rest of the private sector, operate to turn a profit; while this is perfectly understandable, it means that by definition this insurance company and any others following suit will on average drain money from African agriculture and so slow its growth.

    It should be up to the discretion of African farmers as to whether the reduction of long term expansion of productivity is worth the reduction of risk due to variations in weather, but it should not be held up as a long term solution to the underlying problem facing African agriculture and African economies generally: lack of productivity. It is up to African governments to implement the necessary reforms to allow for, and to spur economic growth in agriculture; such reforms must be undertaken on both a national level in individual states, but critically also extend to Africa's larger economic blocks such as ECOWAS so as to mitigate local weather variations. 

    While I personally condone expansion and facilitation of the free market in most cases, so long as the developed world subsidises its own agriculture, imposes trade barriers to African agriculture, and undermines domestic markets in Africa, the only solution is economic integration and top down support for Africa's domestic production by its governments and inter-governmental institutions. The situation will not correct itself, and it will not be solved by actors from outside Africa, it must come from within Africa itself.

  11. I'm sorry, but after all the terrible things that insurance is inflicting on societies wherever it spreads, why would we want to spread it into poor African farmer communities? I was hoping for a story showing an alternative to insurance, not for another beginning of insurance-inflicted horror. This is bad news for everyone.

  12. But what is the cost of this insurance? Another question is: Why can't other regions share their crops if there's a drought in some areas? Why is it necessary to use an economic-based solution to solve a social problem?

    It's the same as how we attempt to solve social problems in the west with only economic solutions. i.e. People are drinking too much alcohol and fighting in the streets. The solution is to increase the price of alcohol. It doesn't solve the root cause of the problem, because drinking too much alcohol isn't the cause – it is a symptom of an underlying social problem.

    Giving insurance to farmers does not prevent the problem of crop failure and never will do. All it does is exchange money for failed crops so they can buy food from other places. What if there are droughts everywhere? Can they eat money? The underlying problem has NOT been solved and "could" get worse, as farmers start to rely solely on economic solutions to real world problems. The solution is in finding new ways of growing crops so that they DON'T fail in the first place. Insurance would not be necessary then.

    Hope my points have gotten across clearly. Not very good at explaining things.

  13. Ms. Rose Goslinga and her team's idea of creating innovative insurance solution to the Africa is awesome  Likewise, region-specific solutions to be found so many of our problems. Highly recommended to everyone.

  14. "Across sub-Saharan Africa, small farmers are the bedrock of national and regional economies." sigh…..

    if this is so obvious then how about having a TED talk about how the US-EU is deliberately dumbing subsidized food & dairy products into african markets, rendering these farmers worthless, unable to feed their families or to generate an income.

    if history has shown us anything is that+ anything involves the west & "help" "well intentions" "credit" should be obvious to africans by now that its the equivalent to modern day smallpox blankets.

    and did she say IMF? 

    anything they are involved in turns to disaster, they more than any other agency killed more africans than hitler killed europeans, they should be banned form the continent.

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