Livestock owners in Isiolo County are set to benefit immensely through a livestock pasture insurance program that was introduced recently by the county government of Isiolo in partnership with the national government and Drought Resilience in Isiolo County (DRIC) program that is funded by the European Union.
The building Drought Resilience program (DRIC) has conducted forums to facilitate the training of livestock keepers in Isiolo County on the scheme and sensitize them on the importance of enrolling in the insurance program.
During the recent drought, livestock owners who subscribed to the program received compensation in the form of cash which they said facilitated them buy supplements and fodder for their livestock.
Simon Legeteti, one of the beneficiaries from Oldonyiro area of Isiolo said that the program has had a great impact but challenged the county government and partners to continue educating the public on how insurance works since many farmers lack the knowledge.
While presiding over the three days livestock owner’s forum in Isiolo town, the Isiolo county chief officer in charge of livestock Mr. Isaiah Epuri called for more livestock keepers to enroll in livestock insurance which has proven to be a game changer.
“Our farmers have been losing herds of cattle as a result of the frequent droughts and it is high time, we change our approaches and start to get insurance cover for the animals,” Isaiah said.
He lamented that out of 50,000 targeted farmers by the county government and DRIC, only 8,000 have insured their animals in the entire county.
Additionally, Isaiah said that his department will liaise with the county Assembly of Isiolo to come up with the necessary legislation related to livestock keeping.
He said that the department will be partnering with other development partners to conduct resource mapping exercises in the entire county and identify where there is a necessity for more interventions.
According to Dickson Chaulo, the deputy county director of livestock in Isiolo, the new approach of insuring pasture is beneficial to the farmers as the requirement for compensation is not the death of the animal. The compensation happens when there is a reduction of foliage that is arrived at through satellite mapping.
Chaulo said that through the program, the county government has been subsidizing the premiums for the farmers by paying 80% of the premiums with enrolled livestock owners catering for the remaining 20% of the premiums.
Denis Mwongera a field officer for the DRIC Project said that the satellite images of the rangelands are used to determine the pasture level index which helps determine when to start compensating those who have enrolled themselves for the insurance policy.
Story by Bruno Mutunga.