Weather index insurance, agricultural input use, and crop productivity in Kenya

  • Kenneth W. SibikoEmail author
  • Matin Qaim
Original Paper


Weather risk is a serious issue in the African small farm sector that will further increase due to climate change. Farmers typically react by using low amounts of agricultural inputs. Low input use can help to minimize financial loss in bad years, but is also associated with low average yield and income. Increasing small farm productivity and income is an important prerequisite for rural poverty reduction and food security. Crop insurance could incentivize farmers to increase their input use, but indemnity-based crop insurance programs are plagued by market failures. This article contributes to the emerging literature on the role of weather index insurance (WII). We use data from a survey of farmers in Kenya, where a commercial WII scheme has been operating for several years. Regression models with instrumental variables are used to analyze WII uptake and effects on input use and crop productivity. Results show that WII uptake is positively and significantly associated with the use of chemical fertilizer and improved seeds, and also with crop yield. We conclude that upscaling WII programs may help to spur agricultural development in the small farm sector.


Weather risk Crop insurance Fertilizer Small farms Impact evaluation Africa 



This research was undertaken with financial support from the Kenyan National Commission for Science, Technology, and Innovation (NCST) and the German Research Foundation (DFG).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© International Society for Plant Pathology and Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural DevelopmentMaseno UniversityMasenoKenya
  2. 2.Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural DevelopmentUniversity of GoettingenGoettingenGermany

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