An insurance policy that will cushion Rift Valley and Western Kenya farmers against the vagaries of weather, pests and diseases has been launched.
The Kenya Seed Company and crop insurance firm Pula yesterday unveiled the crop insurance scheme that targets to cover 100,000 small holder farmers in three counties including Uasin Gishu, Nakuru and Kakamega against losses resulting from natural calamities.
Under the crop insurance plan, farmers who buy seeds from the State-owned Kenya Seed Company will automatically qualify for the insurance cover, since the insurance premium is included in the cost of seed purchased.
The two companies announced in Eldoret during the signing of the deal that the cover will be operational from this planting season.
In what appears to be a lucrative deal for farmers who have been recording losses due to occasional drought, pests and diseases, farmers from the three counties were assured of compensation.
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Kenya Seed Managing Director Azaria Soi said the insurance cover will cushion maize farmers against crop diseases such as maize lethal necrosis, maize smut diseases and maize stalk borer infestation.
Mr Soi said the initiative comes at a time when most farmers in the Rift Valley and Western regions are preparing to plant maize and wheat.
Pula Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Rose Goslinga said 7,000 farmers from the three counties have signed up for the crop insurance for the last one week.
“At least 100,000 farmers are targeted in Nakuru, Uasin Gishu and Kakamega in our pilot phase. We are targeting small holder farmers with as small as a quarter of land,” Ms Goslinga said.
She said teams from APA Insurance, which is among insurance firms in the programme will visit farmers to ascertain losses during the harvest season.
The CEO said mobile technologies will be used to senstitise farmers on best agricultural practices from planting to harvesting to minimise losses at all stages.