Enabling Insurance for Smallholder Farmers

Reducing information asymmetries to develop neglected agricultural insurance markets


Agricultural insurance is widely available to western farmers, allowing them to be supported in the event of a poor yielding year, and also providing a structure to discourage risky or particularly unsustainable behaviours. However, in developing countries the agricultural insurance market is poorly developed, leaving farmers and smallholders very vulnerable to shocks. Data scarcity and the resulting difficulties in pricing risk for producers is one of the main factors in constraining this important market. We believe we are able to disrupt information provision in this sector, and open up new smallholder insurance opportunities.


Sensonomic has conducted a scoping study and developed plans for an Agricultural Risk Analytics Platform. This service will provide insights into the risk profiles of smallholders requiring insurance, and will be capable of incorporating behavioural and Earth Observation data within analyses, drawing on Agent Based Modelling processes.

The platform will serve raw, processed and analytical outputs, collating multiple data sources and adding value with our models of human behaviour. By uniquely combining multiple data sources (such as satellite data, climate data and local yeild records) with models of human behaviour, Sensonomic’s platform will be able to help identify more and less risky propositions. These outputs will also be supplied as API feeds, capable of being incorporated within existing dashboards or software solutions.

Our target market for such a tool is reinsurers, who cover wide portfolios and deal with multiple clients, all of whom many be able to use our tool. Additionally, reinsurers have large internal datasets such as claims and exposure data, which we aim to use to enhance our EO based modelling processes and refine, calibrate and validate outcomes. Secondary markets would be brokers, and agricultural insurance companies.


This scoping study has shown us that there is sufficient market need for a novel risk analytics platform for the (re)insurance industry. We are confident that our proposed solution is unique, with earth observation data and behavioural modelling enhancing the scant information available from smallholders.

Better insurance provision and risk-based pricing will provide risk mitigation strategies for vulnerable agricultural producers (and populations) within emerging economies, and could result in smallholder supply chains appearing more attractive to investors and buyers.

To take this project forward, we are looking for commercial partners who would be interested in co-funding a proof of concept. Please do get in touch if you would like to hear more.

A woman holdering her daughter in a sling, in a field of maize


How do we use Earth Observation data and Agent Based Modelling to enable better risk pricing in developing countries, and to open up new markets for agricultural insurance?