Agricultural insurance - East Africa


Lady farmer mobile phone

Agriculture Insurance: "Kilimo Salama" is now ACRE

Our vision is for agricultural insurance to be as common on a farm as fertilizer should be.

Kilimo Salama, our former insurance program for smallholders, became a company – ACRE  in 2014. This page provides further information about ACRE Africa and the Syngenta Foundation work on which it builds.

In January 2019, ACRE appointed a new CEO. Here's how they introduced him. 

In April 2018, ACRE won an award for Best African Startup in Agtech at the AfricaDays in Paris.

In early 2017, ACRE signed an agreement with the Kenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Organization (KALRO). Their joint aim is to provide agricultural risk management solutions to more Kenyan farmers. 

What challenges do smallholder farmers face?

Around the world, millions of smallholders are facing the effects of climate change. Most of them farm fewer than five hectares, often in remote areas. Extreme or erratic rains, flood and drought threaten their livelihoods.

In Kenya, the agricultural sector employs three-quarters of the working population. In a bad season, smallholders can lose their entire harvest. They then lack the money to buy quality seeds and other inputs for the next growing season.

How ACRE helps

ACRE (Agriculture and Climate Risk Enterprise Ltd.) evolved in 2014 from Kilimo Salama, an agricultural insurance program launched in Kenya in 2008 (see Kenya and Rwanda pages for more information about Kilimo Salama).

This is what we said when Acre Africa was founded:

A new company

"Nairobi/Basel, 11.6.14. The Syngenta Foundation today announced the launch of ACRE, a company created to advise insurers on protection for African smallholders. Agriculture and Climate Risk Enterprise Ltd. (ACRE) will continue the Foundation’s drive with ‘Kilimo Salama’ to reduce the burden of weather and other risks for small farmers. This is the first time in its over 30-year history that the Foundation has spun off a project to become a new company. 

Insurance support for smallholders

“We have shown since 2009 that affordable insurance for smallholders is not only possible, but also very popular, and that it helps farmers invest more in their crops”, says the Syngenta Foundation’s Executive Director, Dr. Marco Ferroni. “We are delighted that ACRE is now ready to act as an insurance surveyor in Kenya and plans soon to extend its services to further countries.” The new company is one of the few sources of smallholder insurance expertise in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Continuity and investment

ACRE starts operations with over 30 former Kilimo Salama employees, based mainly in Nairobi. Management reports to a Board that includes Marco Ferroni and Olga Speckhardt, who represent the Syngenta Foundation as majority shareholder. “ACRE is very fortunate in having secured investments by the Lundin Foundation, Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation and LGT Venture Philanthropy”, announces Speckhardt. These investments are in addition to the grants won recently from the International Finance Corporation and other sources.

“Our investors are closely aligned with ACRE’s mission to help smallholders mitigate the many risks they face, particularly those related to weather”, adds Speckhardt. “Their involvement will greatly help ACRE and its insurance providers extend protection to potentially millions of currently unserved farmers.” See what one of the investors says about ACRE and its stake in the new company.

2016 update: With ACRE now well on its way, the Syngenta Foundation has increasingly focused on smallholder insurance in Asia. Here is an overview of our work, and some background from the Financial Express. In June 2015, our team in India introduced weather insurance there. Based on the pilot project with this Replanting Guarantee, a fuller launch began a year later. 

Kilimo Salama is funded through the Syngenta Foundation and the Global Index Insurance Facility (GIIF). Launched in 2009, the GIIF is a multi-donor trust fund financed by the European Union, Japan and the Netherlands, and implemented by IFC and the World Bank.

Further reading

 *Further information on all three investors is available via:  /  /