Climate Finance | April 16, 2024

Pula lands $20 million to offer livestock insurance to smallholder farmers

Lucy Ngige
Guest Author

Lucy Ngige

Insurance tech startup Pula launched in 2015 to provide crop insurance to small scale farmers, 80% of whom lack access to products that protect their incomes from extreme weather events, like drought. The Kenyan company partners with insurers to embed their policies into the costs of the farm inputs farmers buy – when a farmer buys seeds, for example, those seeds come with an insurance policy.

Its $20 million Series B equity round will support its expansion into livestock insurance. Swiss impact investor BlueOrchard led the round. Along with existing investors, Gates Foundation, Kenyan venture capital firm Hesabu Capital and the IFC also participated (see, “The next big thing is climate adaptation for smallholder farmers“).

Pula, along with Oko in Mali and ACRE Africa in Zambia, provide insurance to partially derisk agricultural production and help farmers who suffer bad seasons plant again. The approach spares households the domino effects of being unable to repay early-season loans for seeds and fertilizer, like losing their land, taking their children out of school or going hungry (listen to the podcast, “Acre Africa: Insuring farmers against crop failures and climate change”). Such “parametric” coverage doesn’t require farmers to make individual claims; rather they get automatic payouts upon specific weather events, like inadequate rainfall over a crop cycle.

Africa is the least-insured region for farmers.