Strengthening crop insurance for smallholder farmers

December 6, 2018 | 14:45 h - 15:45 h

ZEF Colloquium with Dr. Berber Kramer, micro-economist in the Markets, Trade and Institutions Division of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) on Strenghtening crop insurance for smallholder farmers

Date: Thursday December 6, 2018 at 2:45 PM – 3:45 PM
Venue: ZEF (
<link footer how-to-find-us>Center for Development Research), Genscherallee 3, 53113 Bonn, ground floor, right conference room.

About the speaker: Berber Kramer is an applied micro-economist in the Markets, Trade and Institutions Division of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). She joined IFPRI in 2013 and has a Ph.D. in Economics from the Tinbergen Institute in the Netherlands. Her research analyzes programs and policies that can help smallholder farmers in developing countries cope with unexpected expenditures or income losses, due to, for instance, illnesses and injuries or to extreme weather events damaging their crops. As an IFPRI Research Fellow, Dr. Kramer leads the cluster of research on agricultural insurance for the CGIAR Research Programs on Policies, Institutions and Markets, and on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, and is the lead Principal Investigator for the <link https: project pbinsurance>Picture-Based Insurance initiative, which develops and evaluates crop insurance products that use smartphone camera data for claims settlement and risk management advice. Dr. Kramer is the winner of the 2018 T.W. Shultz Prize for Best Contributed Paper by the International Association of Agricultural Economists. Find more information about Dr. Kramer on her <link http: profile berber-kramer>Website.

Abstract: Smallholder farmers are increasingly exposed to weather extremes but lack access to affordable insurance products to protect their livelihoods from catastrophic crop damage. This colloquium discusses the potential of Picture-Based Insurance (PBI) to improve access to affordable crop insurance for smallholder farmers. Building on remote sensing and image processing techniques, PBI can help verify insurance claims using a time-lapse of pictures from insured plots, both pre- and post-damage, taken by farmers themselves using their own regular smartphone cameras. This approach aims at minimizing asymmetric information and costs of claims verification compared to indemnity insurance, while reducing basis risk and improving trust, tangibility, and understanding compared to index-based insurance. In the colloquium, Dr. Kramer will present the results from a pilot implementation with 750 farmers in the rice-wheat belt of India. The pilot speaks to PBI being a feasible and valuable complement to existing index-based insurance products. Crop growth and damage are visible from smartphone pictures, farmers can take pictures of sufficient quality for loss assessment, and PBI helps reduce severe downside basis risk at minimal cost. Experimental evidence indicates that introducing PBI coverage within index-based insurance products does not induce moral hazard or adverse selection, and follow-up studies highlight the potential for bundling PBI with personalized advisory services to provide a more comprehensive risk management solution.


Alisher Mirzabaev

PD Dr. Alisher Mirzabaev


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