Pastoralists in Kajiado County have welcomed the introduction of a livestock insurance scheme program aimed at cushioning them from losses occasioned by the prolonged drought.
The program that is sponsored by the World Bank in conjunction with the State Department of Livestock will enable enrolled pastoralists to pay a subsidized premium.
The World Bank Board of Directors in June 2022, approved $327.5 million to cushion pastoralists in four countries; Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia from the impacts of drought.
A total of 250,000 households in Kenya are expected to benefit from the project representing 1.6 million pastoralists and their dependents.
In Kajiado County, 30,000 households are set to benefit from the livestock insurance scheme project.
Twenty thousand households will have their livestock insured for free courtesy of the World Bank while 10,000 others will pay a highly subsidized premium.
At Mzee Justus Lemaiyan’s homestead in Il Bissil, Kajiado Central, heaps of livestock carcasses litter his compound.
Lemaiyan 69, sits pensively outside his manyatta looking at the carcasses of his 152 herd of cattle that have succumbed to the drought.
He revealed that he has only been left with three cows which might die any time as he cannot afford to buy hay to feed them.
“The drought has been so severe, I had 155 cows and many sheep but I am now left with only 3 which I am struggling to feed. It has not rained here for the last 3 years and the situation is getting severe,” he said.
Lemaiyan said the Livestock Insurance Scheme was timely as it will cushion him against the loss of his livestock.
Joseph Kilowua, a pastoralist from Maili Tisa, reiterated Lemaiyan’s sentiments adding that the livestock insurance program will give hope to thousands of pastoralists who have lost their only source of income to the ravaging drought.
Kilowua revealed that he had lost 86 cows to the drought and was now left with nothing after selling two that survived.
Another herder, James Kishoyian noted that the Livestock Insurance program was long overdue and pastoralists should come on board as it is a long-term solution to the perennial drought.
Governor Joseph Lenku last week announced that pastoralists to benefit from the insurance scheme had been grouped into clusters to ensure no one is left out.
The eight clusters are: Iloldokilani, Kaputiei, Keek-Onyokie, Kuku, Matapato, Merrrueshi, Olgulului, and Olkeriai.
“Identification of households to benefit from the insurance scheme is being conducted by Livestock officers, Chiefs and village administrators to ensure that the people who get the free livestock insurance are the most deserving, including those who lost substantial numbers of livestock,” Lenku had said.
The Governor urged the pastoralists to take up the insurance immediately as it is one of the long-term measures put in place to cushion them against incurring massive losses.