The Agriculture and Climate Risk Enterprise (ACRE): Linking insurance to credit schemesEastern and Southern Africa


The Agriculture and Climate Risk Enterprise (ACRE) is the largest index insurance programme in Africa in which the farmers pay a market premium. It is projected to reach 3 million farmers across 10 countries in Eastern and Southern Africa by 2018 (ACRE 2014). 1 Indexes have been developed for maize, beans, wheat, sorghum, millet, soybeans, sunflowers, coffee, and potatoes. There are three pillars to ACRE’s approach:

  • A wide range of products based on several data sources, including 130 automatic weather stations, remote sensing technologies and government area yield statistics. 
  • ACRE’s role as an intermediary between insurance companies, reinsurers and distribution channels/aggregators.
  • Links to the mobile money market, particularly the M-PESA scheme in East Africa which allows quick enrolment and payment of claims.

As of 2013, ACRE offered a range of insurance products:

  • Insurance was linked to agricultural credit from Microfinance Institutions (MFIs). This credit was designed for farmers who wished to grow maize using improved inputs. 
  • ACRE offered contract seed grower insurance for large-scale producers (> 20 acres). 
  • Dairy livestock insurance was offered in partnership with a dairy cooperative for farmers who already own cattle or a lending institution for farmers who want to purchase them. The cover is also linked to animal care packages and vaccines.  
  • Insurance was incorporated into a replanting guarantee by a seed company, linking ACRE, UAP Insurance and Safaricom.
Relationship to CSA

ACRE links insurance to credit schemes that target farmers who wish to improve their crop and/ or dairy production, hence it directly supports increased productivity. As with all forms of agricultural insurance, farmers’ resilience is greatly increased through the elimination of production loss due to adverse weather conditions. In parts of Eastern and Southern Africa, where climate change projections suggest drier and more variable climatic conditions, this will become increasingly important.

Impacts and lessons learned

By 2013, the sum value of crops and livestock insured by ACRE reached USD 12.3 million; the recorded insurance payout was USD 370,405. Insured farmers invested 19% more and earned 16% more than their uninsured neighbours. 97% of the farmers insured in 2013 received loans linked to the insurance (IFC 2014). 2


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CCAFS Climate-Smart Agriculture 101

The basics

Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is an integrative approach to address these interlinked challenges of food security and climate change, that explicitly aims for three objectives:

A. Sustainably increasing agricultural productivity, to support equitable increases in farm incomes, food security and development;

B. Adapting and building resilience of agricultural and food security systems to climate change at multiple levels; and

C. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture (including crops, livestock and fisheries).

Entry points

Agriculture affects and is affected by climate change in a wide range of ways and there are numerous entry points for initiating CSA programmes or enhancing existing activities. Productivity, mitigation and adaptation actions can take place at different technological, organizational, institutional and political levels. To help you navigate these myriad entry points we have grouped them under three Thematic Areas: (i) CSA practices, (ii) CSA systems approaches, and (iii) Enabling environments for CSA. Each entry point is then described and analysed in terms of productivity, adoption and mitigation potential and is illustrated with cases studies, references and internet links for further information.

Develop a CSA plan

Planning for, implementing and monitoring CSA projects and programmes evolves around issues of understanding the context including identification of major problems/barriers and opportunities related to the focus of the programme; developing and prioritizing solutions and designing plans; implementation; and monitoring and evaluation. Most major development agencies have their own framework for project and programme formulation and management but CCAFS has developed a specific approach for planning, implementing and assessing CSA projects and programme called CSA plan. CSA plan was developed to provide a guide for operationalizing CSA planning, implementation and monitoring at scale. CSA plan consist of four major components: (1) Situation analysis; (2) Targeting and prioritizing; (3) Program support; and (4) Monitoring. evaluation and learning.


To meet the objectives of CSA, such as agricultural development, food security and climate change adaptation and mitigation, a number of potential funding sources are available. For instance, climate finance sources may be used to leverage agriculture finance and mainstream climate change into agricultural investments. This section offers an overview of potential sources of funding for activities in climate-smart agriculture (CSA) at national, regional and international levels and for a number of different potential ‘clients’ including governments, civil society, development organizations and others. Additionally, it includes options to search among a range of funding opportunities according to CSA focus area, sector and financing instrument.

Resource library

CSA Guide provides a short and concise introduction and overview of the multifaceted aspects of climate-smart agriculture. At the same time it offers links to references and key resources that allows for further investigations and understanding of specific topics of interest. In the resource library we have gathered all the references, key resources, terms and questions in one place for a quick overview and easy access that can be used as a part of or independently of the other sections of the website. The resource library is divided into six sections; (1) References – list all publications, links and blogs referred to on the website; (2) Tools – list all the CSA tools presented on the website; (3) Key terms – explains the most important and frequently used terms related to CSA; (4) Frequently asked questions (FAQ) – provides a rapid overview of the most common questions asked on climate-smart agriculture; (5) About – where you can find out more about the purpose and structure of, as well as on the organizations and authors behind the website; (6) Contact.

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