Kwimba — The Tanzania cotton Board in collaboration with Tanzania Gatsby Trust and MicroInsure have arranged weather index Insurance for cotton farmers for the season 2012/2013 with the aim of assisting farmers to re-pay loans in case of losses.
In his presentation in Kwimba district, the Tanzania Cotton Board Managing Director, Marco Mutunga said that this procedure will facilitate all banks to provide loans to cotton farmers and ginners. "If we shall be more serious on cotton farming, the micro weather index insurance will be a Samaritan for cotton growers," he said.
The Micro Insure agriculture programme Manager, Michael Fredericksen said that weather index insurance helps farmers to increase crop yields and farmers who need access to credit to afford better inputs. In most cases, providing credit for agriculture is risky, therefore the insurance enables financers to provide agricultural input credit, with the insurance also reducing weather and livelihood risk for farmers. Concerning weather index insurance approach in Kwimba District, Fredericksen said that traditionally providing agriculture insurance is difficult due to lack of weather and crop yield data.
He said that Micro Insure utilized data to understand cotton's weather risk through local interviews, existing local weather stations in partnership with Tanzania Metrology Association, Ukiriguru research, DataNDVI verification and Livelihood data verification (world bank), adding that automatic weather stations are now functional in Kwimba District for future insurance and weather data. Kwimba District Commissioner, Seleman
Mzee said that Kwimba cotton farmers have been faced with challenges over lack of capital and management. Contract farming which started in the area since 2011/2012 has increased cotton production as more than 25,000 farmers managed to join contract farming where farmers benefited when they got a loan of 138