Etherisc onboards 17K Kenyan farmers covered by blockchain-based crop insurance

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An insurance collaboration between decentralized protocol Etherisc and microinsurance issuer ACRE Africa has allowed thousands of farmers in Kenya to receive coverage for weather-related risks.

Etherisc and ACRE Africa said they had processed insurance payouts for some of the more than 17,000 smallholder farmers in Kenya covered under the collaboration. The Chainlink Community Grant, the Ethereum Foundation and the Decentralized Insurance Foundation helped fund the project, which was first announced in November 202.

“We’re thrilled that after months of hard work on this initiative, we’re seeing the fruits of our labour — which has a tangible social impact on farmers in Kenya who are threatened by the devastating effects of climate change,” said Etherisc chief inclusive officer Michiel Berende. “The solution that we built with our valued partners at ACRE Africa overcomes a number of challenges associated with traditional crop insurance — delayed payments, high premium costs, and lack of transparency.”

As part of the initiative, smallholder farmers are reportedly able to pay as little as $0.50 in premiums to receive coverage for crops adversely affected by climate change — Kenya has been previously hit hard by both droughts and flooding. Though Etherisc and ACRE Africa said they aimed to reach roughly 250,000 farmers in East Africa, some of those already receiving coverage have been paid using an end-to-end solution on the blockchain.

Etherisc reported it had dispersed payments to farmers in need using the cash and mobile payment system M-Pesa, with roughly 6,000 expected to be compensated for lost or affected crops before the end of the season. Kenya is home to a large number of flower farms, but it also grows sugarcane, sweet potatoes, maize and other fruits and vegetables.

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Many have touted blockchain solutions for a multitude of issues facing residents of African nations, from helping women become financially independent to proposing blockchain voting systems to reduce costs and provide more secure elections. In Zimbabwe, a blockchain-based tracing app allows local farmers to track and trace cattle, a system aimed at making it easier to export beef and increase profits.