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February 13, 2015

Ethiopian Farmers Buy Insurance Against Drought
More than 5,000 sign up for JICA's first Weather Index Insurance scheme

photoResidents fill out an insurance form.
photoCommunity members working on pond construction and plantation activities

JICA implemented its first Weather Index Insurance program in November, in Ethiopia, as part of a project to increase the resilience of rural farmers to climate change and drought.

The insurance pays insured famers when rainfall amounts fall below a certain level and is a measure farmers can take to insulate themselves from the effects of drought.

In response to the 2011 East Africa drought, JICA and the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture launched the Rural Resilience Enhancement Project (RREP) in 2012 to enhance the resilience of rural communities in the Oromia and Somali regions.

One of the objectives of the project was “introducing a Weather Index insurance plan for farmers in low rainfall areas of Oromia Region.”

Some 5,600 farmers in eight districts registered for Weather Index insurance as a hedge against low rainfall. The total insured amount was more than 572,000 Ethiopian Birr ($US28,199). This was accomplished in collaboration with such partners as Oromia Insurance Company and cooperatives and unions in each district.

The project has now completed two out of its three parts. The other completed part is “community-based activities and strengthening of livestock marketing among pastoralists (livestock herders) and agro-pastoralists (livestock herders who also engage in agriculture) in the southern parts of Oromia Region (Borena).”

Some other specific activities implemented under the project include construction of two secondary livestock markets, pond construction and rehabilitation, bush clearing, rangeland management, forage production, pasture development, provision of tools and seeds (42,000 tools distributed), dry land agriculture, and capacity building for community and local government.

Still to be completed under the project is the construction of an irrigation system for the pastoralist and agro-pastoralist population in the Somali Region.

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