Here’s another thorough overview of how mobile phones are playing a vital role in agriculture and trade in Africa. Beyond Esoko in Ghana, several other organizations and companies are using mobile technology to improve access to information about crops and insurance for farmers across Africa. The use of mobile phones for insurance is quite interesting in the manner in which it uses mobile technology for all aspects of the insurance process – registration and payouts. The Kilimo Salama insurance in Kenya uses SMS and mobile networks for tracking rainfall and subsequent payments, eliminating the need for claim forms. Additionally, the salespeople who sell the policies also use camera phones to scan special bar codes when the farmer purchases the policy, which instantly registers the policy and sends confirmation directly to the farmer’s own mobile phone. This new system generates a new level of trust and understanding of this system.
“This ‘pay as you plant’ type insurance allows farmers to try out insurance, a product they have never bought before and which has a negative reputation in Kenya,” said the Syngenta Foundation in a statement. “Experience shows that as farmers learn to trust insurance, they expand their coverage and are comfortable investing more in their farm, raising their productivity and increasing their food security.”