Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

Realizing Rural Resilience and Inclusive Growth by Reducing Risk: Is Agricultural Insurance the Key?

Apr 23, 2015


This event, jointly presented by Microlinks and Agrilinks, covered the potential for agricultural insurance to promote resilience and inclusive agricultural growth as part of an integrated risk management approach. Integrated risk management can provide a pathway out of poverty by mitigating climate risk and enabling smallholders to take advantage of economic growth opportunities.

Lena Heron, Senior Rural Development Advisor in USAID’s Bureau for Food Security, discussed the use of insurance to support USAID’s inclusive, climate-smart agricultural growth and resilience programming objectives. Richard Choularton from the World Food Programme discussed how the Rural Resilience (R4) Initiative combines agricultural index insurance with broader risk management approaches to reduce vulnerability and improve the livelihoods of rural farmers.

The R4 approach also incorporates risk reduction through community asset building (soil and water management), savings for improved coping, and credit to enable prudent risk taking for economic growth. Currently being implemented in Ethiopia and Senegal, R4 has recently begun activity in Malawi and Zambia. R4’s activities in Senegal are supported by a grant from USAID’s Global Climate Change Office. In 2014, R4 won a $500,000 grant through USAID's Internal Development Innovation Ventures (iDIV) competition, which sources game-changing ideas from USAID staff anywhere in the world. 

More information on R4 is available here.

Microlinks and Agrilinks are both part of the Feed the Future Knowledge-Driven Agricultural Development project, a USAID-funded contract seeking to capture and disseminate good practice in international development around the world. To learn more about Agrilinks, visit the website here.


Richard Choularton
Richard Choularton
World Food Programme

Richard ChoulartonRichard Choularton is Chief of the World Food Pro

Richard Choulartongramme's (WFP) Climate and Disaster Risk Reduction Programmes Unit. In this role, he leads WFP’s engagement on climate change and disaster risk reduction. He is also responsible for developing innovative risk management solutions targeting the most vulnerable and food insecure populations. Richard is an expert on emergency preparedness, risk financing, resilience, food security, and disaster risk reduction. Prior to his current position, he has held a number of positions in WFP, including Senior Policy Officer, Emergency Coordinator, Head of Programme, and Early Warning and Contingency Planning Officer. Richard also served as the Director of Humanitarian Assistance at a top-10 U.S. nonprofit and led early warning and decision support operations at the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET). He has an MSc in Risk, Crisis and Disaster Management. 

Lena Heron
Lena Heron
USAID Bureau for Food Security

Lena HeronLena Heron is the Senior Rural Development Advisor in the Bureau of Fo

Lena Heronod Security (BFS) at USAID. She has been with USAID since 2000 and has conducted numerous agricultural sector assessments and designed projects to promote agricultural value chain development in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and Africa. She is the USAID Project Manager for the Assets and Market Access Collaborative Research Support Program, a virtual research facility which aims to improve the economic resiliency of the rural poor through policy-relevant research on access to and the function of markets. She also manages USAID’s engagement with the World Bank on the Agricultural Insurance Development Program and National Agricultural Risk Assessments. Lena is the Agency’s lead on risk and insurance. Her interests include resilience, rural and agricultural finance, and agricultural value chain development. As part of BFS, Lena is involved with the implementation of Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global food security initiative. She has been particularly engaged in the development of programming approaches to expand the participation of the poor in agricultural-led growth.