At a village meeting last Friday in Dirib Gombo, in Kenya’s northern Marsabit District, farmers who took out livestock insurance receive their first payout after a prolonged drought here and elsewhere in the Horn of Africa (photo credit: Neil Palmer/CIAT).
‘An innovative insurance scheme to help East African farmers recover from the devastating drought is making its first payouts today with the help of British aid.
‘The new programme will cushion the blow for animal herders in the Horn of Africa by providing payments to cover the loss of their cattle, goats, sheep and camels.
‘The UK aid funded initiative will compensate more than 600 insured herders in the Marsabit District of northern Kenya where some have lost a third of their animals.
‘In the worst affected areas, the payments will provide enough money for policy holders to buy replacement animals, helping herders to rebuild their lives and livelihoods.
‘The scheme draws on the latest technology to keep track of livestock levels by using freely-available satellite data to assess the state of pastures and to accurately predict animal deaths.
‘When the images show that pastures have dried up, herders can claim compensation for animals that have died as a result, based on the predictions made. This new system bypasses the high costs and difficult logistics that had be overcome to confirm animal deaths in the past, as herds roam across vast distances in extremely remote areas.
‘The insurance programme was developed with the help of British aid, in partnership with the Nairobi-based International Livestock Research Institute and a group of leading universities and international insurance companies. . . .
‘Dr Andrew Mude from the International Livestock Research Institute said:
Drought insurance is one important way to help livestock keepers maintain food security even in very harsh environments. This is asset insurance for animals that are the centerpiece of livelihoods, providing a stream of income and nutrition for years and years.”
‘. . . The British Government is currently considering a proposal to increase its support to this innovative programme as it is rolled out in districts across northern Kenya.’
Read the whole article at the website of the UK Department for International Development (DFID): Insurance helps African drought-hit herders rebuild lives, 21 Oct 2011.