Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Satellite support to insure farmers against extreme droughts

Agricultural insurance is a valuable strategy to cope with extreme weather risks. Improved satellite observation capabilities can be particularly helpful with droughts, but will not translate into better insurance unless key challenges are overcome.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Fig. 1: Key requirements for the design of index insurance from satellite-retrieved imagery.


  1. 1.

    Glauber, J. W. Agricultural Insurance and the World Trade Organization (IFPRI, 2015).

  2. 2.

    Miranda, M. J. & Glauber, J. W. Am. J. Agric. Econ. 73, 206–215 (1997).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Benami, E. et al. Nat. Rev. Earth Environ. 2, 140–159 (2021).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    West, H., Quinn, N. & Horswell, M. Remote Sens. Environ. 232, 111291 (2019).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Miranda, M. J. Am. J. Agric. Econ. 73, 233–242 (1991).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Turvey, C. G. Rev. Agric. Econ. 23, 333–351 (2001).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Dalhaus, T., Musshoff, O. & Finger, R. Sci. Rep. 8, 46 (2018).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Clarke, D. J. Am. Econ. J. Microecon. 8, 283–306 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Jiao, W., Wang, L. & McCabe, M. F. Remote Sens. Environ. 256, 112313 (2021).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Meroni, M. et al. Remote Sens. Environ. 253, 112232 (2021).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Gao, B.-C. Remote Sens. Environ. 58, 257–266 (1996).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Vuolo, F., Mattiuzzi, M., Klisch, A. & Atzberger, C. Proc. SPIE (2012).

  13. 13.

    Bucheli, J., Dalhaus, T. & Finger, R. Eur. Rev. Agric. Econ. (2020).

  14. 14.

    Griffiths, P., Nendel, C. & Hostert, P. Remote Sens. Environ. 220, 135–151 (2019).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    De Oto, L., Vrieling, A., Fava, F. & de Bie, K. Int. J. Appl. Earth Obs. Geoinf. 82, 101885 (2019).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Enenkel, M. et al. Weather Clim. Soc. (2018).

  17. 17.

    Fava, F. & Vrieling, A. Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain. 48, 44–52 (2021).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Hazell, P. & Varangis, P. Glob. Food Sec. 25, 100326 (2020).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Walter, A., Finger, R., Huber, R. & Buchmann, N. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 114, 6148–6150 (2017).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Finger, R., Swinton, S. M., El Benni, N. & Walter, A. Annu. Rev. Resour. Econ. 11, 313–335 (2019).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


This research was undertaken within the SURE-Farm (Towards SUstainable and REsilient EU FARMing systems) project, funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 727520 ( The content of this article does not reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Responsibility for the information and views expressed therein lies entirely with the authors.

Author information



Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Willemijn Vroege or Robert Finger.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Additional information

Peer review information Nature Food thanks Wade Crow and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Vroege, W., Vrieling, A. & Finger, R. Satellite support to insure farmers against extreme droughts. Nat Food 2, 215–217 (2021).

Download citation


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing