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Remote Sens. 2018, 10(12), 1887; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10121887

Farmer Perception, Recollection, and Remote Sensing in Weather Index Insurance: An Ethiopia Case Study

1
International Research Institute for Climate and Society, The Earth Institute, Columbia University, Palisades, New York, NY 10964, USA
2
Independent Researcher, Mexico City 03230, Mexico
3
Department of Geographical Sciences, University of Maryland College Park, Maryland, MD 20742, USA
4
Department of Geography, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA
5
Department of Geography, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 September 2018 / Revised: 21 November 2018 / Accepted: 22 November 2018 / Published: 27 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Earth Observation for Index Insurance)
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Abstract

A challenge in addressing climate risk in developing countries is that many regions have extremely limited formal data sets, so for these regions, people must rely on technologies like remote sensing for solutions. However, this means the necessary formal weather data to design and validate remote sensing solutions do not exist. Therefore, many projects use farmers’ reported perceptions and recollections of climate risk events, such as drought. However, if these are used to design risk management interventions such as insurance, there may be biases and limitations which could potentially lead to a problematic product. To better understand the value and validity of farmer perceptions, this paper explores two related questions: (1) Is there evidence that farmers reporting data have any information about actual drought events, and (2) is there evidence that it is valuable to address recollection and perception issues when using farmer-reported data? We investigated these questions by analyzing index insurance, in which remote sensing products trigger payments to farmers during loss years. Our case study is perhaps the largest participatory farmer remote sensing insurance project in Ethiopia. We tested the cross-consistency of farmer-reported seasonal vulnerabilities against the years reported as droughts by independent satellite data sources. We found evidence that farmer-reported events are independently reflected in multiple remote sensing datasets, suggesting that there is legitimate information in farmer reporting. Repeated community-based meetings over time and aggregating independent village reports over space lead to improved predictions, suggesting that it may be important to utilize methods to address potential biases. View Full-Text
Keywords: citizen scientists; climate risk; community-based observing networks; disaster risk management; disaster preparedness; disaster risk reduction citizen scientists; climate risk; community-based observing networks; disaster risk management; disaster preparedness; disaster risk reduction
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Osgood, D.; Powell, B.; Diro, R.; Farah, C.; Enenkel, M.; Brown, M.E.; Husak, G.; Blakeley, S.L.; Hoffman, L.; McCarty, J.L. Farmer Perception, Recollection, and Remote Sensing in Weather Index Insurance: An Ethiopia Case Study. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 1887.

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