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Crop insurance deal to benefit millions of farmers

ZEP-RE CEO, Hope Murera (L) and George Kuria CEO of ACRE Africa (R) at ZEP-RE headquarters in Nairobi.

Millions of smallholder farmers in Kenya and other African countries will benefit from an agriculture insurance deal by two players in the industry. The deal was mooted following the move by Insurer ZEP-Re to acquire 56 per cent stake in Agriculture and Climate Risk Enterprise Ltd (Acre Africa).

ZEP-RE CEO Hope Murera said the deal will help smallholder farmers access affordable insurance solutions for their agricultural ventures.

“In Sub-Saharan Africa, more than 70 per cent of the population depends on agriculture for its livelihood. However, agricultural insurance, is rarely available to them. Where it exists, insurance covers a small segment of farmers. Smallholder farmers face numerous risks, especially related to changes in climate,” she said during the signing ceremony in Nairobi.

Acre Africa CEO George Kuria said the company has developed a wide range of products and technology platforms for agricultural and micro insurance and this is a step towards making things even greater for farmers.

Greater confidence

“Our aim is to make insurance more widely available and improve financial inclusion across Sub-Saharan Africa. The safety nets we are establishing will enable large numbers of vulnerable smallholder farmers have greater confidence and peace of mind,” he said. 

ZEP-RE (PTA Reinsurance Company) based in Nairobi is a regional organisation charged with promoting trade, development and integration within Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) region.

Acre Africa is a registered insurance service intermediary, specialised in agriculture insurance research, product design and distribution. It works with local insurers and other stakeholders in the agricultural insurance value chain. It is registered as an insurance surveyor in Kenya, as an insurance agent in Rwanda and a micro insurance agent in Tanzania.

As a social business company, Acre Africa works with partners to protect smallholder farmers from unpredictable weather conditions by developing products such as crop, livestock and index insurance.

Acre Africa’s main current shareholders are the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture, the Adolf H Lundin Charitable Foundation and Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation.

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“ZEP-RE is the ideal new majority stakeholder. This acquisition is a milestone in the history of Acre Africa and in our quest to build a dynamic and sustainable smallholder agricultural insurance sector. We greatly look forward to seeing Acre Africa flourish with support and guidance of ZEP-RE,” said Simon Winter Chairman of Acre Africa.

Eric Campos, Head of CSR at Grameen Crédit Agricole lauded the deal saying it will go a long way in boosting the rural micro-insurance industry. He said Covid-19 pandemic has underlined the importance of micro-insurance in helping the low-income rural population to build resilience.

“ZEP-RE’s expertise and its alignment with Acre Africa’s mission to champion smallholder farmers will open a new chapter for Acre Africa, enabling it to enter new markets, increase its social impact and strengthen the rural micro-insurance industry,” Campos said.

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