“ I did not believe in crop insurance before, but now it is a reality for me”! It is with great enthusiasm that 38-year old maize farmer Bessekourou Issiaka from Northern Benin received the first payout on his weather insurance policy. Because of the lack of rain this season, some of his maize fields generated less than half of their usual yield, or 800 kg/ha instead of the usual 2000 kg/ha. He is therefore quite relieved to receive FCFA 90,000, about 180 dollar insurance payout which will help him repay the loan he took to purchase inputs for the maize production. Bessekourou Issiaka is one
The project started in Benin in 2012. Raising awareness sessions were hold by the GEA for the clients of FECECAM. Despite a huge interest for the product there were no sales in 2012 due to the non authorization on time of the index product by the DNA. The distribution process of index products for two types of maize commenced in June 2013. PlaNet Guarantee provided satellite based weather index insurance and area yield index insurance for maize and cotton farmers in Benin and MFIs were the main distribution partners, in particular FECECAM, the largest MFI in Benin with a large network of branches throughout the country.

Benin is a small country with a population estimated at just under 10 million in 2011, and the national economy relies on the agriculture sector, in particular on cotton. Indeed, the agriculture sector accounts for about 32% of GDP and is the source of livelihood for nearly 70% of the country’s workforce. As part of its Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy (2011-2015), Benin has identified agricultural diversification and improved agricultural productivity as two key priorities.

In 2011, at the request of CIMA and FANAF, a regional study on microinsurance was conducted with the technical assistance and financial support from the World Bank. This report showed that a new regional framework was required for microinsurance and agricultural index-based insurance, which had been absent, in the CIMA zone. The member countries are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Comoros, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo.