Farming and agriculture play a key role in sustaining Kenya’s economy, contributing by about 35% to the GDP (World Bank, 2016). Specifically, potato farming is one of the most productive and lucrative agribusiness ventures in Kenya. However, it can either make or break a farmer’s investment because of the risks involved. But farmers can still get good returns if they are willing to practice smart farming.
Smart farming involves incorporation of several factors of production with an ultimate goal of maximizing production, reducing costs and at the same time mitigating farming risks. Compromising any of these major factors can create an imbalance in the production system and consequently diminish the returns.
Similar to any other crop, potato production is highly dependent on genetic composition and the environment. Genetic composition means the type, the source and the quality of potato cultivars a farmer uses as planting material. It is therefore advisable to use planting material from certified institutions with credible reputations. The environment refers to the choice of agro ecological zone to grow potatoes, planting date, and crop management practices such as crop nutrition, crop rotation, weed management and other recommended practices. With these basic factors in place, the probability of achieving the ultimate objective of high yields is possible.
However, some factors such as prevailing weather conditions and uncontrollable diseases and pests outbreaks are unpredictable and beyond farmers’ control. Therefore, insurance becomes an ideal risk mitigation tool. Some of the major benefits of crop insurance are:
- Cushioning farmers against weather vagaries in potato production
- Peace of mind, giving farmers confidence to invest more in potato production
- Insurance can act as security to access agricultural credit
There are two types of insurance covers for farmers:
1. Indemnity based crop insurance
This category compensates farmers in case of a loss based on the ground verified loss quantifications where insurance companies engage a qualified agronomist to monitor the crop and assess any loss due to an insured risk.
2. Index Based Crop Insurance
This category relies on a historical set of data such as rainfall data, or crop yield data to predict possible future losses and sets insurable risk limits (index). This Index is therefore used to monitor insurance contracts during crop production period.
For a customized agriculture insurance quotation, contact ACRE Africa on 0719 249 615 or email us at email@example.com.