The carcass of a donkey in northern Kenya; like many other animals in recent weeks, this animal lay down to die just as seasonal rains arrived in the region following a prolonged drought. Photographer Neil Palmer explains: ‘Already weakened by months of near-starvation, the animals were unable to endure the colder weather that followed the long-awaited return of the rains; they died from hypothermia, with green shoots springing up around them’ (photo on Flickr by Neil Palmer/CIAT).
‘What hits you when you get out of the truck at Ginda Village, in Northern Kenya, is the smell.
‘Farmer Haro Sora’s land is littered with the carcasses of cattle and donkeys that have keeled over following an intense, prolonged drought. A skull here; half a ribcage there. In some places there are whole animals slumped on the roadside. Some have died in the last few days, and the wind does little to clear the air.
‘Ginda, in Marsabit District, has been affected by the now infamous Horn of Africa drought, which triggered a food crisis affecting around 13 million people in Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia. After more than a year, the rains finally returned to Ginda a fortnight ago.
‘The fact that the food crisis in the Horn was the result of a livestock crisis has been well documented. A major pastoralist zone, when vegetation for grazing began to dry-up and livestock started to die, the knock-on effects on farmer livelihoods became strikingly clear.
‘Now, whatever your gut reaction to the principle of a financial institution selling insurance to already cash-strapped smallholder farmers to protect them against the risk of drought, there are 650 livestock keepers in Marsabit this year who are delighted to be receiving their first payouts.
‘The Index-based Livestock Insurance (IBLI) scheme, run by CIAT’s sister-center the Nairobi-based International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), and a number of partners including the UK Department for International Development (DFID), is an example of a market-based, climate-smart innovation that could gain much wider currency in Africa and beyond. It’s now at the end of its second year. . . .’
Read the whole article at the CIAT Blog (International Center for Topical Agriculture):
Livestock insurance—A chance to outsmart drought?: New satellite scheme makes first payments to pastoralists, 24 Oct 2011.
Read ILRI’s news release on this topic:
Herders in drought-stricken northern Kenya get first livestock insurance payments, 21 Oct 2011.
Read other news clippings on this Blog: