The government in its efforts aimed at protecting livelihoods has identified agriculture insurance as part of a broader risk management framework and as a key strategy to de-risk farming.
Subsequently, the Ministry of agriculture, livestock, fisheries and cooperatives Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya said that during the 2019 long rains season, 409,000 farmers in 27 counties were insured at a total risk value of Sh2 billion.
Speaking at a Nairobi hotel during the release of crop insurance compensation to farmers for the 2019 crop season losses on Wednesday, Munya said that as per requirement, the crop loss assessment was done through crop cutting at the end of the seasons and the results indicated that out of the 409,000 farmers insured, 25,228 farmers experienced crop loses and have claims amounting to Sh117, 483, 315.
“This brings to a total of 37,500 farmers who have benefitted from crop loss compensation to the tune of Sh217 million since the crop insurance program begun in 2016,” he explained.
The CS said that insurance is expected to contribute towards a long-term transformation of farming from subsistence to commercial agriculture. Further, farmers’ compensations during a failed season is critical for stabilizing their incomes and building of resilience thus leading to overall agricultural growth and development.
“In recognition of this, the Ministry, with support from partners in the insurance sector, developed the crops and livestock insurance programmes to supporting farmers access agriculture insurance. The comprehensive Crop Insurance Program (CIP) covers various crop enterprises, starting with the main food crops, namely maize, pulses and Irish Potatoes. Under this programme, the Government of Kenya, through the State Department of Crops Development, funds 50 percent of the insurance premiums for farmers with farm sizes ranging from half an acre to 20 acres,” explained Munya.
He added that the farmers who purchase insurance are expected to pay 50 percent of the remaining premium costs. The scheme is also open for farmers who wish to insure above the 20 acres. However, they are expected to pay the full premium cost with no government subsidy.
Munya said that to date, the program has been rolled out to 33 targeted food producing counties covering maize, beans, Irish potatoes, sorghum, cowpeas and green grams.
“I am pleased to inform you that the program is progressively rolling out to cover other crops including wheat, rice, cashew nuts and horticultural crops,” said the CS.
APA Insurance CEO Ashok Shah said that they are supporting the government’s agenda on food security through the creation of an enabling environment and ensuring sustainable natural resources management.
Shah said that agriculture finance and insurance are strategically important for achieving the mission of eradicating poverty and ensuring shared prosperity.
“In Kenya, agriculture is vital to the economy and over 75 percent of our fellow countrymen rely on agriculture at various degrees for their livelihoods. The government has identified agriculture insurance as part of the broader risk management program and a key strategy to de-risk agriculture,” said Shah.
He added that in the past farmers carried a great burden occasioned by crop failure, climate change, pests and diseases but the private sector has come to close this gap and insurers have played a major role in ensuring that farmers have a steady income from their activities regardless of the weather and other factors.
He explained that APA Insurance leads a consortium of six Kenyan insurers including UAP, CIC, AMACO, Jubilee, Kenya Orient and Geminia to offer the insurance cover to farmers.
By Joseph Ng’ang’a