Farmer Perception, Recollection, and Remote Sensing in Weather Index Insurance for Agriculture in the Developing World: An Ethiopia Case Study

28 Pages Posted: 24 Sep 2018

See all articles by Daniel Osgood

Daniel Osgood

Columbia University

Bristol Powell

International Research Institute for Climate and Society

Rahel Diro

Columbia University

Carlos Farah

Independent

Markus Enenkel

Columbia University

Molly E Brown

Independent

Gregory Husak

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Department of Geography

S. Lucille Blakeley

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)

Laura Hoffman

Columbia University

Jessica McCarty

Miami University

Date Written: August 31, 2018

Abstract

A major challenge in addressing climate risk in developing countries is that many regions do not have the necessary historical weather data to design and validate solutions using technologies such as remote sensing. Therefore, many projects are build using farmer’s reported perceptions and recollections of major climate risk events (such as drought). Although farmer perceptions are great potential value in the design and validation process, there are well known biases and limitations associated with farmer perceptions and recollections which could potentially lead to a problematic product. In order to better understand the value and validity of farmer perceptions this paper explores two related questions: 1) Is there evidence that farmer reporting data has any information about actual drought events and 2) Is there evidence that it is valuable to specifically address recollection and perception issues when using farmer reporting data? We investigate issues and strategies concerning farmer perceptions and remote sensing for risk protection by studying one of the most challenging climate risk applications of remote sensing, index insurance, for which remote sensing triggers payments to farmers during loss years. Our case study is of the largest participatory farmer remote sensing insurance projects in the developing world, the R4 Rural Resilience Initiative of the World Food Programme (WFP) and Oxfam America in Ethiopia. Our approach is to test the cross-consistency of farmer’s reported seasonal vulnerabilities against the years reported as droughts by independent satellite data sources. We find evidence that farmer reported events are reflected in multiple remote sensing datasets, and that utilizing strategies of repeated interviews over time, and to some extent, aggregating independent village reports over space lead to improved predictions. These findings are not only important in understanding the quality of and strategies for utilizing farmer perception information, but also for verifying the appropriate remote sensing approaches as remote sensing applications such as index insurance continue to scale.

Keywords: farmer perception, index insurance, climate risk, remote sensing, community-based observing networks, citizen science

JEL Classification: C43, C52, C53, Q18

Suggested Citation

Osgood, Daniel and Powell, Bristol and Diro, Rahel and Farah, Carlos and Enenkel, Markus and Brown, Molly E and Husak, Gregory and Blakeley, S. Lucille and Hoffman, Laura and McCarty, Jessica, Farmer Perception, Recollection, and Remote Sensing in Weather Index Insurance for Agriculture in the Developing World: An Ethiopia Case Study (August 31, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3242142 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3242142

Daniel Osgood

Columbia University ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Bristol Powell

International Research Institute for Climate and Society ( email )

Palisades, NY
United States

Rahel Diro

Columbia University ( email )

116th and Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Carlos Farah

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

Markus Enenkel

Columbia University ( email )

314 Low Library
535 West 116th Street, MC 4327
New York, NY 10027
United States

Molly E Brown

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

Gregory Husak

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Department of Geography ( email )

CA 93106
United States

S. Lucille Blakeley

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) ( email )

Santa Barbara, CA 93106
United States

Laura Hoffman (Contact Author)

Columbia University ( email )

61 US-9W
Palisades, NY 10027
United States

Jessica McCarty

Miami University ( email )

118B Shideler Hall
250 S. Patterson Ave.
Oxford, OH 45056
United States

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