Can you tell us about the innovative insurance products and services you introduced?
Unpredictable and extreme weather is impacting farmers and their yields. As a result, smallholder farmers cannot access the investments they need to grow their yields and income.
We are reimagining agricultural insurance to protect these smallholder farmers worldwide.
Pula is an agricultural insurance and technology company that designs and delivers innovative agricultural insurance and digital products to help smallholder farmers endure yield risks, improve their farming practices, and bolster their incomes over time.
Our insurance solution made possible by creating the largest productivity database for smallholder farmers in the world, through over 100,000 farm visits in 2023, and by partnering with insurers and reinsurers around the world.
Who does your project serve, and in what ways is the project impacting their lives?
Our project serves smallholder farmers and organisations investing in them in emerging markets. Millions of smallholder farmers worldwide lack access to affordable, high-quality insurance, and their farms are often too small and remote. The World Bank indicates that providing insurance helps farmers increase crop income by up to 41% and up to 83% in bad years.
The use of technology offers an efficient solution. We are an agricultural insurance and technology company designing and delivering innovative agricultural insurance and digital products to help smallholder farmers endure yield risks, improve their farming practices, and bolster their incomes over time.
Pula has already covered over 9 million farmers worldwide.
Why are you passionate about your project?
I grew up in the village and attended secondary school in my home area in Embu. I later went to a national university. Reading “The Making of a Great Capitalist” by Warren Buffet during high school inspired me to pursue actuarial science.
After gaining corporate experience in insurance and understanding the difficulties smallholder farmers face while in the village, I decided to create change. In 2014, I spoke with my co-founder Rose Goslinga and together we established PULA, an independent entity that offers agricultural insurance to smallholder farmers, which we officially launched in 2015.
I believe that one of the most important decisions an entrepreneur can make is quitting their job. It was a tough decision to take the leap from a comfortable job at a prestigious company and this is another cause for my passion.
I decided to engage in social entrepreneurship and invent in agriculture insurance solutions that serve smallholder farmers that are prone to suffer adverse events due to their limited resources and reduced access to both technical and financial support. Today, I am proud to say that Pula has supported 9 million smallholder farmers around 20 markets.
Smallholder farmers are usually unwilling to purchase insurance. What challenges have you faced in creating awareness and giving them the confidence to invest?
While we believe that agriculture insurance is a critical solution to the long-term growth and success of farmers, smallholder farmers are not all yet able to purchase insurance.
By using technology, actuarial expertise and field experience, we have developed covers that are attractive for large organisations working with farmers including governments, input providers, banks, off-takers etc.
We don’t sell to farmers directly, instead we identify aggregated farmer demand. As part of our services, we also provide wide-ranging campaigns of insurance promotion and awareness, both digitally and in the field to ensure that farmers understand their insurance and perceive the benefits.
How do you see the role of partnership and who did you partner with in developing your digital platform?
Partnerships are important to leverage the skills of others where needed. However, as pioneers in the space, we develop most of our platforms in-house. We have developed innovative actuarial pricing tools, and field data collection apps that match our needs.
You are one of the top 10 finalists for the 2023 Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) edition. What made you stand out, from over 27000 applicants?
Being selected as one of the top 10 finalists for the 2023 Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) edition is truly an honor and a testament to the hard work and dedication of our team. We are deeply humbled and honored to have been recognized as one of the top 10 finalists for the 2023 Africa’s Business Heroes competition. This achievement reflects the unique qualities and impact of Pula Advisors in the agricultural sector.
Our standout factor, in the midst of a fierce competition comprising of Africa’s top innovators, lies in our unwavering commitment to addressing critical challenges in the agricultural industry. Pula Advisors is not just a business; it’s a mission-driven endeavor that seeks to empower farmers not only in Kenya or Africa, but worldwide.
Our innovative approach to providing smallholder farmers with access to affordable insurance and risk mitigation tools has been a game-changer.
What sets us apart is our relentless pursuit of solutions that make a real difference in the lives of farmers. Furthermore, our dedication to promoting sustainable agriculture practices, have not gone unnoticed. We believe that true success lies in the positive impact we make on communities, and this ethos has resonated with the ABH judges.
What is your take on the role of competitions like Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) in advancing the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Africa?
Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) identifies, supports, and inspires the next generation of African entrepreneurs working to solve the most pressing problems and building a more sustainable and inclusive economy for the future. The program identifies, trains, spotlights and supports impact-driven entrepreneurs by awarding top finalists a yearly shared grant of $1.5million. This serves as a catalyst for change in Africa’s entrepreneurship ecosystem.
Various initiatives tailored to propel Africa’s growth are geared towards nurturing new business opportunities. The new economy, driven by entrepreneurship, creates an opportunity for innovations and sustainable development in Africa.
ABH is a great opportunity to showcase the success of African entrepreneurs’ projects and helps participants to meet inspiring leaders from across the continent.
You have provided micro-insurance to 6.7 million farmers. Where do you see Pula Advisors Limited in 5 years from now?
Our goal is to have reached 100 million farmers around the world.
Thank you for this opportunity and for your interest in sharing our story. We are also very grateful to ABH for recognizing the potential of Pula Advisors, and we look forward to continuing our mission of empowering farmers and driving positive change in the agricultural sector.