The Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) launched the National Agriculture Insurance Scheme (NAIS) on the 23rd of April 2019 at an event held in Nyanza District, Southern Province of Rwanda. The Scheme will mitigate against risks and losses incurred by farmers due to unpredictable natural disasters, pests and diseases that affect their livestock and crops. Dubbed “Tekana Urishingiwe Muhinzi Mworozi” (Meaning “Smallholder farmer, feel safe, you are insured”), the scheme which is subsidized up to 40% by the Government of Rwanda, will also enable the farmers to easily access financial services and ensure flow of credit to the agriculture sector.
Speaking at the event, the Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Dr Gerardine Mukeshimana, underlined that the launch of the National Agriculture Insurance Scheme is in line with the Government’s intention to improve livelihoods of citizens through capacity building and providing support in their respective professions in order to eradicate poverty, thus growing the country’s economy. “We believe that this insurance scheme will empower farmers since their activities will be insured by reputable insurance companies to manage risks and losses amongst the smallholder farmers. Our intention is to get all smallholder farmers covered with this insurance scheme”, she said.
The scheme is being implemented through partnership with the private sector, with three insurance companies participating in this initial pilot phase; SONARWA, PRIME Insurance and Radiant Insurance. The livestock insurance has been unveiled with an innovation of the use of microchips to avoid fraud. Rwanda joins few countries globally who have implemented a national Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) system and database for livestock. This national digital database will be a great asset in decision making both for the Government and the private sector.
“Insurers are very thankful to Government through MINAGRI for this partnership that is expected to result in increased financial inclusion, product diversification and business opportunities said Mr. Gaudens S. Kanamugire the Chairman of Rwanda’s Association of Insurers (ASSAR),
In this pilot phase, the livestock insurance product is being rolled out in Nyanza, Gicumbi, Musanze, Rwamagana, Gatsibo, Ruhango, Nyagatare and Burera districts, while the crop insurance product will be introduced in Gatsibo, Nyagatare, Bugesera, Gisagara, Kirehe, Gicumbi, Huye, Rulindo, Ngoma and Rwamagana district in next Season A 2020 . The scheme will be scaled up countrywide later.
Support to MINAGRI for the development of the Scheme has been provided by Access to Finance Rwanda (AFR) through partnership with Development Partners namely UK Aid, SWEDEN and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The firm K.M.Dastur (KMD) was hired to provide expertise in the process and has worked closely with stakeholders in design, implementation and training.
‘We are pleased to support the design and setup of this important scheme. For poverty reduction and growth, it is essential that farmers have access to tailored risk mitigation measures. Insurance will trigger access to finance and enhanced productivity. This is a complex endeavor and we are looking forward to generating lessons and learning on how to make this a financially sustainable programme in the medium term.’ Says Sarah Metcalf, Head of DFID Rwanda.
Access to Finance Rwanda recognizes the opportunity for business growth for farmers and private sector firms through a system of pre-planned and budgeted agriculture insurance. This will change the landscape of agriculture financing in Rwanda.