April 15, 2024

Founded by Rose Goslinga and Thomas Njeru in 2015, Pula delivers agricultural insurance and digital products to help smallholder farmers navigate climate risks, improve their farming practices and bolster their incomes over time.

Agriculture insurance has traditionally relied on farm business. In the U.S. or Europe with typically large farms, an average insurance premium is $1,000. But in Africa, where smallholding or small-scale farms are the norms, the number stands at an average of $4.

It is particularly telling that the value of agricultural insurance premiums in Africa represents less than 1% of the world’s total when the continent has 17% of the world’s arable land. 

This disparity stems from the fact that the traditional method of calculating insurance through farm visits is often unaffordable for these smallholder farmers. Thus, they are often neglected from financial protection against climate risks like flood, drought, pestilence, and hail.

Pula is solving this problem by using technology and data. Through its Area Yield Index Insurance product, the insure-tech startup leverages machine learning, crop-cut experiments, and data points relating to weather patterns and farmer losses, to build products that cater to various risks.

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.

How it Works

Crop Insurance

Against a wide range of climate risks including drought, excessive rainfall, pests and diseases, and several other perils that negatively affect their yields. They also partner with local insurance companies and global reinsurance firms to underwrite risk.

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Pula handles product design, risk placement, farmer education, claims assessment, and payouts.

Area Yield Index Insurance

Pula’s Yield Index Insurance (YII) covers all risks that affect yield. YII cover insures the value of the purchased inputs against low yield and would replace the purchase to registered farmers at the end of the season. 

Under this cover, the country is divided into agro ecological zones (AEZs) based on historical rainfall, temperatures, prior yields, etc, and average historical yield data is determined for each zone based on past data.

At the end of the season, trained enumerators measure yield levels for each agro ecological zone. With this information, farmers will receive compensation if yields in a specific agroecological zone are below a determined trigger level.

Hybrid Index Insurance

Hybrid index insurance is a combination of Weather Index Insurance (WII) and Area Yield Index Insurance (YII). It offers comprehensive coverage for farmers as it maximizes the advantages of both insurance products.

Based on its structure farmers can receive a quick payout under the weather index. Which would provide farmers with a means of replanting or possibly use funds for other immediate in-season household needs.

This scheme also ensures that farmers receive comprehensive insurance that covers all major perils both drought as well as flood, pests, and diseases.

Livestock Insurance

Pula’s Index-Based Livestock Insurance (IBLI) covers pastoralists when pastoral rangelands for grazing are not sufficient, often due to drought or delayed rains. This comes in the form of an asset protection insurance program.

Index-Based Livestock Insurance

Pula’s Index-Based Livestock Insurance (IBLI) is a comprehensive insurance cover that consists of dekadals (10-day periods) running for one year within which pastoralists are protected when their land for grazing is not sufficient. They are protected against damage to grassland caused by a variety of risks.

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The purpose of the cover is to respond to the onset of severe droughts and loss of pasture and grazing reserves by making timely payouts to vulnerable farmers, enabling them to purchase supplementary livestock feed, transport the animals to better grazing land, or for sale, create water bodies as communities to keep their core breeding animals alive during the droughts. As such this is a large-scale asset protection cover.

The index is determined using satellite Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) data. NDVI is a measure of the greenness and healthiness of plants on the ground.

Field Sense

Pula works with Government Programs and International Non-governmental Organizations (I-NGOs) to reduce costs and improve efficiency by providing remote agriculture monitoring, yield prediction, and sustainable ways to engage with farmers and raise awareness on matters of great importance.

FieldSense consists of 3 products that can be implemented separately or in a bundle:

FieldSense Monitor

FieldSense Monitor enables their clients to monitor field activities remotely, better predict outcomes, and improve the decision-making process by making it data-driven. Providing a live dashboard with all the data collected.

FieldSense Advise

FieldSense Advise enables their clients to provide their farmers with agronomy tips to help them increase their yields and/or mitigate risks they face on the ground. These tips provided to farmers are tailored to what is happening on the ground.

FieldSense Engage

FieldSense Engage enables their clients to reach more farmers with their products and insurance while educating them on insurance benefits. This education will encourage more farmers to pay for the product and insurance.

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Founders

Rose Goslinga

Rose Goslinga is the Co-Founder and President of Pula Advisors. 

She previously worked at Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA)/ Kilimo Salama as a Program Director. 

Rose Goslinga attended the University of Amsterdam.

Thomas Njeru

Thomas Njeru

Thomas Njeru is the CEO and Co-Founder of Pula Advisors.

 He previously worked at Deloitte South Africa as a Director. 

Thomas Njeru attended the University of Nairobi.

Investors & Funding Rounds

TLCom Capital, Women’s World Banking

 Pula has raised $6 million (Sh660 million) from global venture capital backers for Africa and Asia expansion.

The funding round was led by Pan-African early-stage venture capital firm, TLcom Capital, with participation from the nonprofit Women’s World Banking.

The Nairobi-based Pula which specializes in digital and agricultural insurance to derisk smallholder farmers across 13 markets in Africa said the funding will help boost its local expansion in Kenya and beyond the African continent.

Main Competitors

GrowFlux: It provides automation and cloud technology services.

Infarm: It builds and distributes efficient vertical farms throughout cities.

80 Acres Farms: This is a farming company that uses indoor farming technology.

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