When asked how he feels about farming, Festus replies, “I enjoy it so much — I love it.” Farming allows Festus to be his own boss and is more stable than other forms of work. With his harvests, Festus puts food on the table, pays his children’s school fees, and incrementally improves his family’s standard of living. But, as all farmers know, a bountiful harvest is never a given. “When drought came, I would lack food and wait for the rain, farm again, and wait to get food.” Trapped in this cycle, and with no recourse from a failed harvest, Festus could never plan for the future.

Until recently, smallholder farmers have not had access to farming technologies that mitigate the risk of drought, pests, and floods. These farmers are at a higher risk of a bad harvest which can have wide-ranging consequences for their finances. When Festus learned about Accion Venture Lab portfolio company Pula, he saw an opportunity to boost his resilience and security. Pula offers more than crop insurance. Farmers like Festus benefit from interactive training on farming methods and tech-enabled insights accessible through farmers’ mobile phones.

Festus harvesting his crops

Festus has seen the benefits of working with Pula and regularly encourages other farmers to join. “I hope that Pula continues in the future and that we can continue to improve our future through its benefits,” he says. Knowing that his crop insurance provides protection from a bad harvest, Festus can take care of his family and his hopes and plans for the future can stretch beyond the next harvest.

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Manashi tends to her rice crops in Odisha, India
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