Farmers in CRR, URR to Benefit from Pilot Climate Risk Insurance Scheme

As part of its integrated risk management approach to addressing the interface between climate change, agriculture, and food security, the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources (MECCNAR) in collaboration with the World Food Programme (WFP) through the Rural Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resilience Building Project (RICAR) recently validated the Index Insurance Product at a local hotel.

The Compagnie Nationale d’Assurance Agricole du Sénégal (CNAAS) and Inclusive Guarantee Senegal (IG-SN) have been contracted to conduct a dry run and capacity development of local service providers to pilot micro-insurance in The Gambia. In February 2023, CNAAS conducted its first mission of collecting primary and secondary information and data for designing the weather index-based micro-insurance product for the country.

The findings of the report will form the basis of defining a framework for the implementation of the pilot as climate risk transfer mechanisms in 2 regions namely: the Central River Region (CRR) and the Upper River Region (URR) as the project intervention regions.

Speaking on behalf of the Hon. Minister of MECCNAR, Mrs. Rohey John-Manjang, the Principal Assistant Secretary, Mr. Momodou Kanyi, said climate change in the country continues to be characterized by increased erratic weather patterns, negatively impacting agriculture and threatening livelihoods and food security. ‘‘Weather index insurance has been identified as one of the risk transfer tools within the project as it presents an innovative approach to managing climate-related risk using a pre-defined index such as rainfall to determine pay-outs. On a global scale, growing efforts to promote smallholder agriculture insurance are motivated by mounting evidence that helps smallholder farmers increase investments for more productive farming,’’ he explained.

Mr. Kanyi also stated that within the RICAR implementation arrangements, WFP with its comparative advantage in delivering support through direct engagement in insurance product design, distribution, and premium is providing technical assistance to the Government of The Gambia. Its partners CNAAS and Inclusive Guarantee are supporting the implementation of a dry run for agricultural index insurance. A pilot will follow this, targeting 500 initial farmers within URR and CRR regions.

The World Food Programme Representative, Mr. Malick Ndiaye informed the forum that weather index insurance mechanisms are new to The Gambia and therefore RICAR’s initiative to conduct this pilot has come at an opportune time. He reassured the gathering that the project will prioritize individual farmers who are particularly vulnerable to climate change and other external shocks such as women farmers.

‘‘The selected farmers will contribute to the initial crop insurance premium through their labor working on additional risk reduction measures in the form of community base asset creation. This project will cover a percentage of the premium costs, gradually reducing from 100% to 90% and then to 75%,’’ he said.

RICAR is a 5year project, funded by the UNFCCC Adaptation Fund (AF) which aims to enhance the adaptive capacity of rural populations in The Gambia through support for climate-resilient and diversified livelihood.