ISIOLO (Xinhua) --
Some 20 million livestock keepers in
the Horn of Africa are threatened by severe droughts, an
official has said.
Thomas Were, Technical Centre for
Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) project manager noted
that livelihood failures pose a risk for both their food and
nutrition security, and for the pastoral economic system.
"These frequent droughts have systematically diminished the
adaptive capacity of pastoralists, to such an extent that
virtually every drought is now a humanitarian disaster," Were
He noted that having gone through these harsh times,
pastoralists are realizing that insurance cover is a better
option as it saves their livestock.
The official said that CTA has allocated 200 million
shillings (2 million U.S. dollars) to support insurance cover,
women and youth entrepreneurship and improvement of livestock
He said that the money has been allocated to Index Based
Livestock Takaful (IBCT), an insurance firm.
"The main reason why droughts are particularly devastating
for pastoralists is that they lack assets other than livestock
that would allow them to recover from a lack of rain," Were
"The project is aimed at making pastoralists more prepared
and resilient in wading through drought times," he added.
A shift towards the introduction of insurance of livestock
against drought among pastoralists in northern Kenya is fast
changing lives for the better in northern Kenya region.
Dahira Ali, 50, a beneficiary of Takaful Insurance heard over
the radio that the organization was readily giving livestock
farmers insurance cover against drought.
"I have since bought insurance twice, at 11,000 ( Kenyan
shillings) and got 54,000 and an additional 31,000, an amount
that enabled me to purchase fodder for my livestock," Ali said.
She said that beside purchasing fodder for her animals, she
also used the money in buying medicine for the animals and also
paying herdsmen who are in the field, 75km east of Isiolo town
with the animals on a daily basis.
Ali, a mother of seven children said that she invested in
livestock to help pay school fees and meet other family needs.
But, she said that the 2016 drought dealt her a big blow as
she lost 150 herds of cattle that migrated to the Meru National
Park for safety.
"My herdsmen only returned with 150 weak and emaciated
animals since the other 150 died due to lack of fodder and
water," she revealed.
Ali who has since lost all her animals to 2019 drought is
however in praise of the program and recommends that the
payments should be increased.
For the 55 years old Habiba Jattani, she remembers the 1984
drought as the worst ever since she was left with only one cow
having lost 50 herds.
Jattani this year received 1,000 dollars from the insurance
scheme that she used to purchase fodder for her 12 milking cows
that she has separated from the bigger flock.
"This is a good scheme and a savior to us livestock farmers
that need to be stepped up to cover many farmers," she said.
Jattani however appealed to the managers to ensure that
farmers get payouts in good time before drought gets worse.
Caroline Wangechi, Index Based Livestock Takaful regional
coordinator said that the organization has so far paid out 2.48
million dollars to farmers since inception in 2013 to cover for
their pasture to keep livestock alive.
"We have registered 20,000 pastoralists since 2013 in
northern Kenya and we continue to educate them to move to
regions with forage in times of drought," Wangechi said.
She noted that the insurance came on board to support about
10 million livestock keepers in northern and northeastern Kenya
who are threatened by frequent and more severe droughts, caused
by climate change.
According to Wangeci, the livestock farmers have shown
willingness to purchase index based insurance that is sold to
them through agents and county government.
"Initially they had reservations based on access to the
products, evidence of value and impact on their livelihoods and
affordability of the products but this is now history," she