Ex- Safaricom chairman Michael Joseph joins board of start-up Pula

Former Safaricom Chairman Micheal Joseph.

Agriculture insurance start-up Pula has tapped former Safaricom chairman Michael Joseph (pictured) in a similar role.

Mr Joseph, who is also the chairman of Kenya Airways, joins Pula advisors as chairman of its board with immediate effect. “Michael will bring a wealth of skills and industry knowledge to Pula. He has been committed to seeing small businesses in Africa succeed on the global stage,” said Pula co-founder and chief executive Thomas Njeru in a statement.

The Nairobi-based Pula which raised $6 million (Sh720 million) last year, specialises in digital and agricultural insurance to derisk farmers in 13 markets in Africa. [Brian Ngugi]

Founded by Rose Goslinga and Thomas Njeru in 2015, Pula says it delivers agricultural insurance and digital products to help smallholder farmers navigate climate risks, improve their farming practices and bolster their incomes over time.

“I am delighted to have joined Pula as its new chairman of the board. I have always been interested in using technology to change peoples’ lives for the better,” said Mr Joseph.

“The connection between agriculture and technology intrigues me, particularly on how technology can be used to improve smallholder farmers’ productivity and incomes.”

Small farmers produce up to 80 per cent of the food supply in Africa and Asia and face a 90 per cent chance of crop loss due to factors outside of their control, such as pest outbreaks and severe drought.

But most of these farmers don’t have any form of crop insurance. If they lose their crops, they lose their income, and can only pray for a better harvest next season.

Pula which last year raised $6 million (Sh720 million) from global venture capital backers for local and regional expansion, says it provides farmers with insurance bundled with inputs (such as seeds and fertiliser) and farmer advisory services to help increase their yields and boost (and protect) their income.