The Food Early Solutions for Africa (FESA) project was millenium project aimed at research and development of reliable, low cost drought index insurance based on EARS satellite data products. FESA was completed in 2013 and succeeded by SUM-Africa, which aims to scale up micro-insurance activities in Uganda and Mali.
Before the FESA project, drought index insurance was usually based upon data measurements from rainfall gauges. Unfortunately these measurement networks are often sparse, expensive to maintain, historical records would be unavailable, and the relationship between rainfall and crop growth is subject to a time lag and is influenced further by local topographical and landscape factors.
To overcome these difficulties, insurance designs were developed based on satellite based evapotranspiration data delivered by EARS. Relative evapotranspiration is closely related to crop growth and can therefore be used as an excellent basis for insurance designs. The EARS RE Index has continental coverage across Africa and Europe, can be monitored in near-real time, and new observations are continuously added as part of a rolling archive dating back to January 1982.
EARS developed various index insurance designs and loss estimation methodologies as part of the FESA project. Pilot studies to test these designs were set up in Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin, Kenya, and Rwanda. The crops addressed were cotton, maize, rice, sorghum, and wheat. Complementary to the insurance activities, a validation study and field visits were carried out to verify the performance of the EARS Relative Evapotranspiration (RE) Index.
For more information you can download the final report of the FESA Micro Insurance project on the right.