At least 13,000 crop farmers from the coastal region have benefited from Crop Insurance Compensation payout under the government-sponsored Kenya Cereal Enhancement Programme Climate Resilient Agriculture Livelihoods (KCEP-CRAL) programme.
The Crop Insurance Compensation payout is done to farmers whose crops were adversely damaged by drought, pests’ disease, and other natural calamities.
The farmers drawn from the counties of Kwale, Kilifi and Taita Taveta are subscribers of the E-Voucher Digital programme scaled out in August 2020 by the national government under the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries.
The voucher enables farmers to buy pre-prepared input packages of seeds, equipment, and consumables from selected suppliers.
Speaking during the payout in Kwale County, State Department for Agricultural Research Principal Secretary, Prof. Hamadi Boga said the programme has transformed the agricultural sector from subsistence farming to agribusiness enterprise.
“The government has an agenda of transforming the agricultural sector and this programme will change the status quo. Climate change is threatening our productivity and this programme helps farmers mitigate and overcome the losses,” the PS said.
Prof Boga said the government is committed to making the coastal counties and the country at large food secure through partnerships with different stakeholders across the world.
He urged farmers to apply the knowledge of modern farming as championed by the KECP-CRAL programme.
The programme is funded by the Swedish Development Agency (SIDA), through the Food Agricultural Organisation (FAO), the European Union (EU), and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
KECP CRAL aims to reduce rural poverty and food insecurity among smallholder farmers in arid and semi-arid areas.
The PS asked the 47 county governments to borrow a leaf of the programme and implement it at the grassroots level.
“Most of the coastal region experiences severe drought and such a programme can offer a long-lasting solution from such agricultural setbacks,” Prof Boga noted.
Kwale County has 2,900 beneficiaries with a payout of Sh 13.9m, Kilifi County has 7,000 beneficiaries with a payout of Sh 56m, and 1400 beneficiaries from Taita Taveta County with a payout of Sh 14.9m.
The programme is currently being implemented in the Western, Eastern, and Coastal parts of the country.
Kwale County Executive for Agriculture and Livestock, Joanne Nyamasyo asked farmers under the project to enrol in the E-voucher programme.
Nyamasio added that the programme will boost the agricultural standards of the county which have been devastated by drought.
“The climate change is causing havoc in our agricultural sector and the crop insurance scheme is a breakthrough,” Nyamsio added.
The agriculture executive disclosed that the county government will offer support to farmers whose crops were affected by drought and are not members of the KCEP -CRAL programme.
She noted that the county government has already set aside Sh 20 million to buy farm inputs for the farmers in preparation for the coming planting season.
Namasyo said the county government is advocating for modern farming, thus many resources have been directed towards irrigation schemes.
She said currently, the county is implementing a vegetable irrigation scheme in Nyalani and Kizingo in Kinango Sub-County.
By Raymond Zaka and Hussein Abdullahi