The coastal regions of Eastern India are a particularly vulnerable region for farmers due to the high prevalence of cyclone landfalls. In the coastal region of East Godavari District in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, the main crops are paddy rice and coconut. Cyclones can destroy a rice crop through excessive flooding and high winds. Cyclonic winds can break the tops off of coconut palm trees, permanently destroying their ability to produce, and it takes 4-7 years for a new palm to reach maturity. Thus, a cyclone can wipe out a farmer’s entire source of income with effects lasting far outside of a single crop season. An effort to better address this vulnerability led to the development of a Pilot Research project.
This project is conceived by Mr. Kumar Vedulla, Founder of Harit Solutions. His research proposal to United States Aid in Developing Countries (USAID) resulted in a grant through the Research and Innovation Fellowship for Agriculture graduate fellowship program at the two University of California campuses. Harit Solutions brought Ranchithaa Anatory, a Master of Development Practice student at UC Berkeley, and Dena Bunnel, a Master of Science candidate in International Agricultural Development and Agricultural and Resource Economics at UC Davis, on as research fellows to conduct the research. The team conducted an exploratory and descriptive farmer survey to gauge the experience with and perceptions of agricultural insurance in this rural, coastal region of India. Harit Solutions is a consulting firm based in Bangalore, India. Harit began looking at the effects of cyclones on the Indian coast and became interested in agricultural insurance as a coping mechanism for farmers.
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