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Library Feasibility of implementing a Risk-Contingent Credit (RCC) program in Zambia: Stakeholder engagement

Feasibility of implementing a Risk-Contingent Credit (RCC) program in Zambia: Stakeholder engagement

Feasibility of implementing a Risk-Contingent Credit (RCC) program in Zambia: Stakeholder engagement

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Date of publication
December 2022
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Changes in frequency and intensity of climate and weather events are a key challenge to agricultural production among farmers in Zambia. Climate variability reduces farm productivity, which in turn contributes to household food insecurity, income variability, and reduced overall economic growth. Using improved technologies such as mechanization, improved seed varieties, irrigation, and fertilizer can improve climate resilience and farm production among smallholder farmers. However, in Zambia, as in many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, most famers lack sufficient access to credit to purchase these technologies. Limited access to credit is mainly attributed to lack of collateral, fear of losing collateral in case of a default, and low financial literacy among smallholder famers. Information asymmetry also makes it risky and expensive for lenders to serve smallholder farmers, thus they ration the quantity of credit offered and/or raise the interest rates making credit too expensive and inaccessible for millions of smallholder farmers. Bundling agricultural credit with insurance, commonly referred to as risk-contingent credit (RCC), provides a mechanism for addressing some of the credit access constraints faced by smallholder farmers in developing countries. RCC is a loan product that is bundled with an insurance component. RCC seeks to enhance long-term resilience to climate uncertainties by promoting optimal farm investment and productivity among smallholders through sustainable access to credit markets. Under RCC, qualifying smallholder farmers borrow funds for agricultural production from formal financial institutions such as banks and microfinance institutions with minimum collateral requirements. The borrower’s ability to repay the loan is linked to climate outcomes, which are highly correlated with farm productivity. An insurance company underwrites the climate risks (either in the form of drought or flood), such that if that underlying risk passes a certain threshold, the insurance is triggered and part or all of the borrower’s liability is transferred to the insurer. If the underlying risk remains below the threshold, the borrower repays the loan at the agreed upon interest rates and is also obligated to pay the insurance premium, as part of the loan repayment. Linking farmers’ loan repayment obligations to an underlying risk, as opposed to stringent collateral requirements, is expected to reduce the borrowing constraints faced by many poor farmers. At the same time, de-risking the lender by transferring a portion of risks to the insurance market is expected to promote credit supply, hence expanding the rural credit market.

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Authors and Publishers

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Timu, Anne G. , Shee, Apurba , You, Liangzhi

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