Climate Smart Coffee is a seasonal climate insurance program to protect smallholder coffee farmers. To make this insurance more affordable, Sprout bases insurance payouts on predetermined, explicit conditions, called index insurance. Index insurance lowers claims processing costs and increases trust with smallholder farmers.
Sprout also provides adaptive, agro-weather advice to farmers via mobile phones, also known as an early warning system. This component of Climate Smart Coffee is an important part of the program, where farmers can use this advice as guidance for dealing with unexpected weather patterns, such as the onset of heavy rains, low rainfall or cold weather that encourage the growth of major pests and diseases, such as Coffee Berry Disease.
Sprout provides pre-programmed, triggered alerts for 5 major pests and diseases for coffee production, as well as regular rainfall and climate information. This enables farmers to manage more climate risks independently to improve climate resilience. Satellite data and other digital tools help keep risk profile assessments and claims processing costs low as well.
Sprout designed Climate Smart Coffee with a number of scaling partners. Using AI and satellite data, Sprout co-designed a first-of-its-kind coffee farm map with NASA Harvest, covering three counties in Central Kenya (an area of approx. 250,000 farmers). With support from USAID Development Innovation Ventures, Sprout will introduce its suite of digital products through its Climate Smart CoffeeTM program, pilot them with 1,000 coffee farmers in Kenya through the 2023/2024 coffee growing season, and conduct an impact study to understand whether coffee farmers’ incomes or investments have increased after obtaining Sprout insurance.
Sprout has piloted Climate Smart Coffee Alerts with nearly 1,000 coffee farmers in Kenya in 2022, sending over 40,000 SMS. Farmers were open to providing feedback in-person during farmer focus groups, where the Sprout team adjusted timing, language and content for farmers. Digital feedback via USSD was encouraged, but underutilized. With at least one-third of coffee farmers being women, the product could have a higher rate of use from women farmers.
Data on gender is collected from the cooperative management teams and Sprout has developed a Gender Dashboard to manage metrics by gender. The team is encouraged that it can increase gender inclusion through specific user research (gendered), rapid prototyping and farmer feedback.
Sprout aims to protect 1 million farmers by 2030. Testing of Climate Smart Coffee Alerts has also been conducted in both Rwanda and Guatemala in 2023 (for language and local considerations). Any gender learnings from Kenya, whether by the process of discovering gender inclusion opportunities or actual new features, will be used across the global portfolio. Sprout aims to reduce climate protection costs and increase on-farm investment, enabling smallholder farmers to improve their climate resilience.
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