21 counties set to benefit from livestock insurance programme

State Department for Livestock Development Principal Secretary (PS) Jonathan Mueke

Twenty one counties will benefit from a livestock insurance programme initiated by the World Bank and will see 173,000 farmers cover their livestock against drought.

The programme dubbed De-risking Inclusion and Value Enhancement of Pastoral Economies (DRIVE) is the product of a partnership between the Department of Livestock Production, World Bank, Kenya Development Corporation and Zep-Re, and has covered 600,000 animals have so far.

Speaking during a Kenya Livestock Commercialisation Project (KeLCO) workshop in Kisumu, the State Department for Livestock Development Principal Secretary (PS) Jonathan Mueke said that the growing interest in the programme stems from the recent drought where 2.5 million head of livestock worth billions of shillings was lost.

The cover, he said, seeks to boost livestock production in the country and strengthen support for pastoralists and livestock farmers through access to rapid cash when there is drought.

Farmers will be able to make claims to purchase feeds during drought to keep the animals alive and healthy.

“We are not insuring animals upon death. The idea is to keep the animals alive to cushion farmers against losses,” he said.

The initiative, which was rolled out in July this year, targets Turkana, Marsabit, Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Tana River, Isiolo, Samburu, Meru, Tharaka Nithi, Baringo, West Pokot, Narok, Laikipia, Kajiado, Makueni, Kitui, Lamu, Taita Taveta, Kilifi and Kwale counties.

Mueke said that the project framework has been developed and four value chains identified in ten counties namely Nakuru, Trans Nzoia, Siaya, Kakamega, Bungoma, Busia, Marsabit, Samburu, Baringo and Elgeyo Marakwet.

“We are now at the implementation stage of the project and the value chains we have identified resonate well with Bottom-up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA),” he said.

He said that focus was on the rearing of sheep and goats for meat and milk production, local improved poultry, bee keeping and rabbit production.

The value chains which do not require a lot of space and capital to start, he added, are set to provide employment and food security for youth, women and People With Disability (PWDs).

The PS disclosed that the State Department will engage with value chain drivers in the public and private sector to ensure that the project succeeds.

“We came here to align ourselves with the CECMs in the ten counties so that we are on the same page as we implement this project,” he said.

Nandi CECM for Agriculture Dr. Kiplimo Lagat lauded the project saying that smallholder livestock farmers were set to benefit immensely.

“We have been able to iron out some of the outstanding issues and define the roles of counties and the national government in the implementation of this project,” he said.

The five-year project funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to the tune of Ksh9 billion targets to boost food security and increase incomes for 110,000 poor livestock and pastoralist households.

By Fredrick Odiero

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