The UN World Food Programme is setting up a micro-insurance fund to cushion smallholder farmers from climatic shocks like drought and floods, among other disasters.
This is in line with its 2017-2021 Zimbabwe Country Strategic Plan which seeks to end hunger and malnutrition through empowering smallholder farmers
WFP Zimbabwe country director Mr Eddie Rowe said that without insurance, it was difficult for smallholder farmers to recover when exposed to disasters.
“We have the smallholder farmers, one of the things which we found out is that when they are exposed to shocks, it is impossible for them to recover because they would have lost everything,” he said.
“So now we are introducing what we call the Weather Insurance Index so that these smallholder farmers would have the opportunity to have their crops insured. So that even if they are hit by El Nino or La Nina at the end of the agricultural season they would be able to get a payout which would enable them to cover the loses. These are some of the climate change adaptation activities we will be doing in the country strategic plan.”
Mr Rowe said apart from insurance, the WFP would also help communities to diversify their sources of livelihoods so that they do npt rely solely on agriculture in the face of climate change.
“We want to diversify the livelihoods of communities because we are not going to reverse the trend on climate change, I tell you, once in four to five years we are likely to have similar El Nino impacts,” he said.
“And so working with communities to develop or enhance their resilience allows them, should another El Nino occur, to withstand it because their livelihood is diversified and it’s not focusing only on agriculture but that there are other income potentials which they can engage in if there is no rain.”
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