Innovations for Poverty Action

IPA is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating, evaluating, and replicating innovative solutions to poverty and policy problems worldwide. Combining technical rigor and creative thinking, IPA partners with frontline organizations to create and evaluate context-specific solutions to poverty problems. IPA is driven by the belief that concrete evidence on what works, what does not work, and why, will accelerate the eradication of global poverty.
Jan 25, 2011

Insurance payouts and knowledge surveys in Tamale

Post-harvest survey in action
Post-harvest survey in action

Greetings from Tamale!  We hope that you are staying warm wherever you are and want to thank you again for your generous contributions to, and interest in, our work.  Since we last wrote in September 2010, we've offered additional insurance payouts and continued to progress in our data collection and product improvement.  In fact, we're gearing up for a follow-up survey that will launch the first week of February!  Here are some highlights from the last few months:

Following the first payout in September, the project made a second insurance payout in October, also based on excess rainfall measured during the 2010 farming season. The Walewale Rainfall Station, one of the five rainfall stations used to collect data under the 2010 Takayua Rainfall insurance policy, attracted a payout. The station recorded eleven (11) consecutive wet days occurring between the 30th of August and the 9th of September. According to the Takayua Rainfall Insurance Policy, eleven (11) consecutive wet days attracts GHC 50.00 (USD $32.85) per acre. Because 225 farmers assigned to the Walewale station had insured a total of 1,254 acres, the total payout amounted to GHC 62,700.

This second payout has further strengthened the trust that these farmers have in the rainfall insurance product offered by IPA. Despite heavy rains and flooding having cut off farmers in most communities around Walewale, IPA surveyors crossed the floodwaters to distribute the payouts to very grateful policyholders.

During November, the project team designed a survey instrument to be used to conduct a short (ten minute) post-harvest product knowledge survey. The survey was administered in December 2010 to all farmers who were insured by the Takayua Rainfall Insurance Policy during the 2010 farming season. The aim of the post-harvest survey was to collect product knowledge data to be used during the evaluation and modification of the Takayua Rainfall insurance product for 2011. IPA has made farmers’ needs a priority, and hopes that the product knowledge survey will further strengthen our partnership discussions with local insurance companies about eventual scale-up of the insurance product.

An interviewer inquires about insurance usage
An interviewer inquires about insurance usage
Oct 19, 2010

An update from Tamale

Hakeem, braving floods to make an insurance payout
Hakeem, braving floods to make an insurance payout

An update from Tamale

We are excited to share some results of the first year and information on current activities taking place in agricultural communities in northern Ghana.  When Rob last wrote, the 2009 agricultural season was starting and IPA was getting ready to support farmers by offering rainfall insurance and grants of capital.  During that season, 260 farmers were offered free rainfall insurance, and take up was 100%.  235 farmers received grants that were delivered to them throughout the farming season (and based on their own personal planting schedule) to assist with agricultural investments. Other farmers received free insurance plus capital injections.

Some preliminary results from the February 2010 follow-up survey indicate that farmers who received both insurance and capital spent 47% more on fertilizer.  They also cultivated 23% more land and they increased the proportion of hired labor.  Having both capital and insurance has impacted the farmers’ expenditures and savings as well.  These individuals were 23% more likely to have electricity in the house than the control group, and 9% more likely to have a formal savings account. 

The farmers who received rainfall insurance spent 11% more on fertilizer, and they cultivated 26.5% more land.  Furthermore, farmers who received insurance missed fewer meals and sent their children to school more frequently.

During the most recent agricultural season, 729 farmers were offered rainfall insurance and, again, take-up was quite high at all insurance rates offered.  363 farmers received capital injections of GHC 350.00 each.

 Under the rainfall insurance policy, one out of the five rainfall stations (Pong Tamale Rainfall Station) attracted a payout. The rainfall station recorded eight consecutive wet days from the 7th to the 14th of August 2010, so all farmers insured under this station will receive a payout of GHC 20.00 per acre.  There are 125 farmers who had insured their farmlands under the Pong Tamale Rainfall Station, for a total of 785 acres insured.

Currently, we are conducting a series of focus groups to learn more about what specific technologies are the most useful for farmers and what barriers they face to adopting them.  Our efforts to form partnerships with local insurance companies for eventual distribution and scaling of the insurance product continue, and we remain optimistic about the impact of rainfall insurance on farmers in the region.

A farmer
A farmer's insured maize crop
Jul 12, 2010

July 2010 Update

When many people think of the start of the school season, they think of textbooks, playground antics and school projects. But for many poor Filipino families, the start of the school season in June simply means debt. Families who cannot afford to pay for their children's school tuition, books, uniforms and materials for class projects wind up all too often taking out high-interest rate loans of 10% per month or higher.

We've identified market vendors in the city of Cagayan de Oro who depend on debt to make it through this critical time as well as put food on the table and provide medical care for their families throughout the year. Now, we're asking for your help to pay off some of these debts and provide assistance in helping these vendors establish bank accounts and learn more about saving money. In time, we hope that their vending businesses can grow and they can better care for their families. Our project will launch later this year and we are very grateful for any size contribution.