By Mutethia Mukembu
Livestock owners in Isiolo County are trooping to Agricultural offices to insure their livestock after many of them lost their herds due to drought and diseases.
Many herders are now set to benefit immensely from the insurance scheme initiated by the County government of Isiolo in partnership with the national government and the World Bank.
“Farmers troop Agriculture offices to insure livestock as a precautionary measure against drought, and diseases. Insurance of Livestock will ensure during calamities farmers are cushioned from damage and losses. We are also introducing home-based pasture feed lots and lots and farms across the ten Wards in readiness for drought resistance,” Isaiah Epuri, Isiolo Livestock chief officer said.
The building drought resilient program (DRIC) has conducted forums to facilitate the training of livestock keepers in Isiolo County on the program 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 to buy supplements and fodder for their livestock.
Simon Legeteti one of the beneficiaries 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, 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.
Epuri said that his department will liaise with the county Assembly of Isiolo to come up with the necessary legislation-related policies including Animal Health Bills, Rangelands management, and animal traceability 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 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.
Satellite images of the rangelands are used to determine the pasture level index which helps determine when to start compensating those who have insurance policies.