Econet Wireless has developed a weather-indexed drought insurance service for small holder farmers. The service allows farmers to make a financial claim if their crops fail because of either inadequate or excessive rainfall.
Under the Econet scheme, which is part of a programme for farmers known as EcoFarmer, a farmer can buy insurance for as little as eight cents per day, which is deducted from their prepaid phone account during the agricultural season. If the rain does not fall, resulting in a drought, the farmer will be given as much as $100 for every 10 kg seed pack planted.
The government has blocked a bid by Econet Wireless to install a fibre optic cable linking Zimbabwe to high-speed undersea cables in Mozambique.
Transport and Communications minister Nicholas Goche told reporters recently that the service was already being provided by Econet competitor and State-run TelOne. Government policy is that service providers must not compete for the provision of infrastructure, but on the provision of services, Goche said.