Picture-Based Crop Insurance

Millions of small-scale farmers
in developing countries rely on their crops for survival But farming is a risky industry Hazards such as droughts,
extreme heat, excess rainfall hail, pests and disease can wipe out a farmer’s crops pushing the household to make
difficult choices with long-term consequences such as reducing basic food
consumption and investing less in their
children’s schooling. Faced with this uncertainty farmers are condemned to
grow less vulnerable crops that provide lower income thus perpetuating a cycle of
poverty. Many small farmers lack good
protection against such natural risks. Because their farms are too
small and too remote insurers cannot provide reliable
and affordable coverage. To address this problem IFPRI has developed a new way
to deliver affordable and easy to understand insurance
to small farmers via mobile technology. Under picture-based insurance farmers use their cell phones
to regularly take pictures of their crops. A mobile app ensures that
each picture captures the same section of the field by using geotags and visual aids. Valid pictures are then uploaded
to the cloud. A farmer can file a claim if
the crop is damaged. The insurer then analyzes
the pictures and additional data assesses damage,
and issues payments. Access to affordable insurance
frees farmers from having to sacrifice their families’
futures so they can survive in the present. And reducing this vulnerability
to natural shocks can also encourage innovations that
will increase incomes. Farmers are then in a better
position to lift themselves out of poverty. To learn more about
picture-based crop insurance and IFPRI’s efforts to end
hunger and poverty visit our webpage.

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