Drought / Drylands / DRYLANDSCRP / East Africa / Food Security / ILRI / Insurance / Kenya / Pastoralism / Project / Vulnerability

Remote Kenya livestock herders receive their first drought insurance payouts

Education on livestock insurance

ILRI staff help local livestock herders in Kenya’s Marsabit District understand how they might benefit from a new ‘index-based’ livestock insurance policy scheme, which is providing 650 herders who paid for this insurance with their first payout this month, following the loss of forage due to a drought that hit Marsabit as well as much of the drylands in the Horn of Africa this year (photo credit: ILRI). 

AlertNet reports that an Index Based Livestock Insurance (IBLI) scheme, developed by the Nairobi-based International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Cornell University and the University of California, has just paid 650 livestock herders in Kenya’s remote northern Marsabit District their first drought insurance payouts.

‘Up to a third of livestock in Marsabit District are estimated to have died during the current drought, which has affected over 13 million people across the Horn of Africa. . . . Most people in Marsabit District are herders, together owning some 86,000 cattle and two million goats and sheep. . . .

‘The programme, which uses NASA satellite imagery of vegetation to determine losses of livestock forage, aims to make it easier for pastoralist communities to cope with and recover from drought. . . .

‘Clients are paid when indicators show their animals are at risk of death, rather than assessing actual livestock losses. This would be impossible as pastoralists and their animals move over vast tracts of arid land in search of pasture and water. . . .

‘A recent report by ILRI found that pastoralism is the most effective way of life for Kenya’s arid and semi-arid lands. Crops cannot survive in such conditions.

‘However, it argued that herders needed more support to cope with crises like drought.

Drought insurance is one important way to help livestock keepers maintain food security even in very harsh environments,’ said Andrew Mude, the IBLI project leader at ILRI.

‘“If it is accompanied by other risk-reducing strategies, such as better access to grazing lands and watering areas, then the pastoralist approach, which some people dismiss as a backward lifestyle of the past, emerges as a very effective way to meet future food needs.”

Read the whole article at AlertNet: Herders receive first drought insurance payouts in Kenya, 21 Oct 2012.

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