The Government in partnership with insurers has committed to pay out Sh215 million to over 12,000 pastoral households affected by the ongoing drought.
Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett said in a statement yesterday the livestock insurance plan targeting six counties is meant to cushion farmers against the effects of the drought.
It uses satellite to monitor vegetation available to livestock and triggers assistance for feed, veterinary medicines and water when animal deaths are imminent.
Payments will be made by the end of this month through the Kenya Livestock Insurance Programme (KLIP). KLIP was developed with technical assistance from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the World Bank Group, and Financial Sector Development (FSD) Kenya, as part of their national strategy to end drought emergencies.
The programme began with Turkana and Wajir counties during the 2015 short-rains season, but now serves four additional counties - Mandera, Marsabit, Isiolo and Tana River.
Payments are pegged on measurements of forage conditions made via satellite imagery.
Bett said the payments will range between Sh1, 450 per pastoral household in areas that have not been adversely affected by drought and Sh29, 400 in areas severely affected.
The average payment is around Sh17, 800 per pastoral household, directly reaching about 100,000 people.
“This is the biggest livestock insurance payout ever made under Kenya’s agricultural risk management programme and the most important as well, because without their livestock, pastoral communities would be devastated,” said the CS.
Pilot projects that preceded the programme established payment levels linked to the state of grazing lands, with the goal of providing enough money to help pastoralists keep their animals alive until the rains return.
“This insurance programme is not just an effective component of our national drought relief effort. It is also a way to ensure that pastoralists can continue to thrive and contribute to our collective future as a nation,” he said.
KLIP is intended to provide a safety net for herders, who for centuries have grazed their animals across vast stretches of arid and semi-arid lands.
Principal Secretary in the State Department of Livestock in the Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Dr Andrew Tuimur urged pastoralists to make use of livestock insurance to cushion themselves against drought.
APA Insurance Chief Executive Ashok Shah said the payments should be made soon before the drought conditions worsen.
“We want these livestock-dependent communities to see index insurance as something they can trust to sustain their way of life,” he said.