“Go where the need is greatest and the help is smallest”
… Small holder farmers produce 80% of the food that is eaten in Africa.
… 60% of small holder farmers are women..
… We must use technology to address every day challenges of ordinary people.
…This is what I mean, when I say, “just add a little innovation, to what you do best.”
For a small holder in rural areas, a drought is often catastrophic, and can lead to hunger for the family. Our passion as Econet, is finding solutions to help smallholder farmers be more secure, and prosperous, in a sustainable way. I am really quite excited about a project that is currently being pioneered by our team called Ecofarmer. I believe that this concept has the ability to totally transform agriculture in Africa, because it makes it possible for small scale farmers, to purchase what is known as “Weather Indexed Insurance”, which until now was only available to large scale farmers.
Here is how it works:
A farmer buys and plants, maize from a special seed pack. Inside the bag, the farmer finds a little plastic capsule, which contains a piece of paper. This paper is actually an insurance policy. All the farmer has to do is to SMS the details on the piece of paper to Econet. As soon as the farmer sends the SMS, Econet immediately knows where the farmer is located, using its network. More importantly, if there is a drought, in the area, after the maize has been planted, Econet will know because of the weather monitoring equipment, that has been installed at the base station, near the farmer’s home.
Econet will pay the farmer cash if the crop has failed. The farmer buys the insurance for as little as 8 cents per day, spread over the season, which is deducted from the prepaid phone account.
By making it possible for small scale farmers to insure their crops, it is our hope that they will not only guarantee food security for their families, but it will also encourage them to plant more hectarage, thus ensuring food security for the whole country. Since we developed this innovation, we have received enquiries about it from all over the world.