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Partners sign up to take the pain out of rain

Monday, July 6, 2020

Building on our MoU with the Sygenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA) signed in July 2019, we are thrilled to announce the start of a new two year research collaboration that focuses on the development and scale-up of climate risk insurance tailored to meet smallholders’ needs in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh is one of the world’s countries likely to be most affected by climate change. As Cyclone Amphan recently demonstrated, the country’s subtropical monsoon climate leaves it highly susceptible to natural disasters. Food security depends heavily on over 12 million smallholder farmers. They are particularly vulnerable to extreme weather events. Most of the smallholders practice rain-fed agriculture and thus face the risks of drought, excess rainfall, and flooding. Despite this vulnerability, however, agricultural insurance in Bangladesh is still in its infancy.

The new partnership was initiated on 30th June when the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management (FS), an implementing agency of the InsuResilience Solutions Fund (ISF) signed a grant funding agreement with the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture and further organizations. “This partnership aims to improve smallholders’ resilience to climate change by providing suitable insurance products”, says Annette DetkenDirector of the ISF. “Our grant will co-fund the development and scale-up of climate risk insurance for a range of crops that are tailored to meet smallholders’ needs.” With the help of the Swiss digital platform developer EnvEve S.A., the partners are also developing a software platform to support product development, pricing, and distribution. The Swiss Agency for Development and Co-operation (SDC) financially supports the project within its Surokkha initiative on insurance solutions in Bangladesh.

In Bangladesh, getting insurance into farmers’ hands will be in collaboration with international partners (IRI and the Walker Institute) as well as local partners. BRAC, the world’s largest NGO and microfinance institution, will work together with the agricultural and livestock insurance providers in Bangladesh, to support the distribution of targeted insurance products in at least nine districts. They will also provide training and advice. “This partnership will encourage innovation, scale promising solutions and strengthen the use of agriculture insurance in building resilience among marginal & smallholder farmers,” says Tanvir Rahman Dhaly, Head of BRAC Microfinance Programme. “I believe that this partnership will mark a historical moment for the insurance sector of Bangladesh,” explains Farzanah Chowdhury, Managing Director & CEO, GDIC.

Our research role will be to establish a more nuanced, quantitative picture of the nature of risks in different localities and to demonstrate how complex risk can be assessed and modelled. To enable smallholder farmers to assess the suitability of insurance products for their livelihoods and open up a multiple risk insurance discourse, we will translate the research into a ‘plug and play’ interface on our technological platform, IDAPS, and  co-design a new “Training of Trainers” course through the Walker Academy to strengthen the capacity of local partners. Walker Institute Director, Prof Ros Cornforth said, “We welcome this opportunity to formalise our MoU with SFSA through this new cross-sectoral collaboration. Together we can help build greater understanding of the specific risks involved in agricultural insurance for very diverse users, and the tools and training needed to assess and manage these risks. This provides a sustainable, ongoing basis for scaling up agriculture insurance in the long term and a vital component of managing the complexity of disaster risk that Bangladesh people are exposed to”.

“Creating a better world requires teamwork, partnerships, and collaboration. If agriculture goes wrong, little else will have a chance to go right. So how do we boost and promote agricultural productivity and achieve global food security while at the same time managing climate change? ”, asks Olga Speckhardt, Head of Global Insurance Solutions at the Syngenta Foundation. “Part of the answer lies in partnerships both public and private.”

The orginal article was posted on the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture Website, see full post here.

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