Determinants of Participation of Smallholder Farmers in Weather Index Insurance in Embu County, Kenya
The study examined how multiple factors influence participation of farmers in Weather Index Insurance (WII) in Embu County, Kenya. Data were collected from a sample of 401 smallholders following multi-stage sampling technique. The study employed the Cragg’s Double Hurdle model in determining factors that influence participation and extent of participation in WII. Results revealed that short rain season, household size, land size, perception of the household head on WII, ownership of a mobile phone and location of the farm were important factors in explaining participation in WII. The distance to a registered agro-veterinary products outlet, insurance premium, group membership, the weather station in Runyenjes station and distance to the local weather station influenced probability to participate negatively. Similarly, ownership of mobile phone had a positive influence on the extent of participation in WII while the size of the household, distance to a registered agro-veterinary products outlet and land size were significant with a negative influence. The findings of this study highlight the importance of shaping farmers’ perceptions towards WII, promotion of policies that allow for access and use of information and communication technologies (ICT) such as mobile phones by the farming households as a pathway to providing smart solutions to smallholder farmers in dealing with weather related risks. Further, the research recommends for development of policies that would ensure modest WII insurance premiums that are aligned to the unique needs of the smallholder farmers.
Key words: Weather index insurance, agricultural risks, Cragg Double-Hurdle model
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