Archived Webinar

Digital Ag Series - Scaling Satellite-Observed Soil Moisture Index Insurance Services

"VanderSat’s unique soil moisture dataset and its added value in parametric drought insurance for smallholder farmers."

As a leading provider of global satellite-observed data products and services, VanderSat monitors and analyses the land conditions. The use of passive microwave technology enables them to offer highly accurate measurements of soil water content and crop status, unhindered by cloud cover or darkness. VanderSat obtains soil moisture data that is unique for its field-level resolution (100m) and has a consistent historical record (19 years). These qualities enable the development of scalable index-insurance products for agriculture.

Soil moisture is a direct measurement of the water available for plant uptake and therefore a critical parameter to monitor crop growth and estimate agricultural losses due to drought or water excess. In this webinar, we demonstrate VanderSat’s unique soil moisture dataset and its added value in parametric drought insurance for smallholder farmers. Vandersat provides historical data for insurance product design and near real-time monitoring of soil moisture conditions to the World Bank's partners ACRE Africa, Mezzanine, and SwissRe, for the Bank's operational services in Kenya and Tanzania.

About the Presenters

Parmesh Shah

Global Lead, Data-Driven Digital Agriculture, World Bank

Parmesh Shah is the Global Lead for Data-Driven Digital Agriculture at the World Bank. He provides leadership to the Bank’s work in these areas and supports the development of global knowledge and learning in these areas to offer solutions to clients and other development partners. His current areas of interest are making markets and public services work for the poor, social entrepreneurship, digital and data-based innovations in agriculture and rural development, climate-smart agriculture, agriculture and technology-enabled start-ups, venture and patient capital for innovation, promotion of on-farm, off-farm, and digital jobs and public-private and people partnerships for rural poverty reduction. He is currently involved in developing a global program on scaling up data-driven digital agriculture involving data platforms and establishing ecosystems for innovation, entrepreneurship, and incubation. He holds a D Phil in Development Studies from the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and a B.Tech degree in Agricultural Engineering from Pantnagar in India.

Lexy Ratering Arntz

 Head of Impact Strategy, VanderSat

Lexy Ratering Arntz is Head of Impact Strategy at VanderSat. She has expertise in water resources management, remote sensing, and finance. Passionate to create impactful solutions for those who are most vulnerable, she works to develop soil moisture index insurance products that insure smallholder farmers against drought. Lexy leads the implementation of the impact strategy which allows VanderSat to monitor the positive impact created by providing earth observation services to customers. Email:

Amos Tabalia

Head of Research & Development, Agriculture and Climate Risk Enterprise Limited (ACRE Africa)

Amos Tabalia is the Head of Research & Development at Agriculture and Climate Risk Enterprise Limited (ACRE Africa). He is an experienced Data Modeller and remote sensing expert with over 11 years working in Agriculture, Water, Climate, Insurance and Financial risks. He uses remote sensing and in-situ data in the design and support of actuarial modelling of different agricultural insurance and financial products. As a researcher, his interests are in data modelling of solutions and products to support and enhance the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, rural communities, and informal economies at micro-levels. Email:

Gidraf Wachira

Programme Manager, Connected Farmer at Mezzanine Ware RF (Pty) Ltd. 

Gidraf Wachira is the Programme Manager for Connected Farmer at Mezzanine Ware RF (Pty) Ltd. His work focuses on validating and scaling small holder-focused digital platforms in Africa. His role currently is to drive value for various agricultural value chain actors on Connected Farmer - a digital marketplace where smallholder farmers in Tanzania and other African countries access vital services/products to increase productivity. Prior to joining Mezzanine, Gidraf had also made a significant contribution in implementing digital platforms in agriculture and Health namely: Agri-wallet in Kenya and Rwanda as well as M-Tiba in Kenya. Gidraf holds a Bachelors's Degree in Business Administration from Makerere University. Email:

Marcel Andriesse

Head Agriculture R&D Innovation and Senior underwriter Agriculture, SwissRe

Marcel Andriesse is the Agriculture R&D Innovation Head and Agriculture Senior Underwriter at SwissRe. Swiss Re agriculture reinsurance team is protecting farmers around the world against natural perils and the increasing influence of climate change. Marcel is heavily involved in the introduction of innovative satellite-based insurance solutions to make crop insurance more effective and scalable. Marcel joined the team as agriculture reinsurance underwriter for Eastern Europe and continues to serve insurance companies and farmers in the region. Email:

Ademola Braimoh

Senior Natural Resources Management Specialist, World Bank 

Ademola Braimoh works on Agriculture and Food Systems, and climate impact in the World Bank’s Africa Region. He has experience in the application of Geographical Information Systems, Remote Sensing, and ICT tools for sustainable development.

Vijay Kalavakonda

Senior Operations Officer, World Bank

Vijay Kalavakonda has more than 20 years of experience working on Access to Finance primarily focused on agriculture finance and insurance and disaster risk finance and insurance. At the World Bank Group, Vijay worked on a range of access to finance related activities including Insurance and the Co-Contributory Pension Program for Low Income Households. Vijay Kalavakonda has worked on agriculture and disaster risk insurance across several countries including Tunisia and Morocco, Nicaragua, Mexico, Turkey, Indonesia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, and Small Islands including both the Caribbean’s and the Pacific. Over the last 3+ years, Vijay’s primary focus area has been in supporting agriculture finance, and financial risk resilience against climate change risks in South Asia.

Nkulumo Zinyengere

Agriculture Specialist, World Bank

Nkulumo Zinyengere is an Agriculture specialist with the World Bank’s Agriculture and Food Global Practice’s Global Unit. He is part of the climate-smart agriculture team and provides support to the regional teams for mainstreaming climate into agriculture operations and carries out analytical work, which can lead to the piloting of climate innovation in the agriculture portfolio. Previously, he worked with the Bank’s climate change group, in the research and analytics unit. Before joining the Bank, Nkulumo was a project manager and research lead with the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), focusing on mainstreaming climate change in development actions across many countries in Africa. He holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Science from the University of Cape Town, and a Masters in Agricultural Meteorology.

Questions Submitted


- Jan 18, 2022

Joy Mildred Adhiambo

- Sep 14, 2021
Great series


- Aug 8, 2021


- Jul 3, 2021

Mohammad Nadir

- Jun 29, 2021


- Jun 20, 2021

jose luis

- Jun 20, 2021
muy bueno


- Jun 18, 2021
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