Farmers have been urged to insure their crops against losses emanating from drought and floods.
Victor Umoru, the Managing Director of Africa Exchange (AFEX) Trade Limited Kenya, said crop insurance is the best approach for farmers to cushion themselves against crop loss due to drought or poor rains.
Umoru further emphasized that climate change is a reality that Kenyans have to live with and urged the agricultural sector to work together to create resilience.
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has supported the call for crop insurance, citing that it can buffer the worst effects of drought and floods, allowing farmers to avoid the spiral of debt and low production.
According to the Kenya Meteorological Department’s March-May 2023 weather outlook, below-average rainfall is expected over most parts of the country, including the West of the Rift Valley, Central Rift Valley, and Highlands East of the Rift Valley.
IFAD has also noted that drought can cause long-term effects beyond crop losses for one season.
Planting can become a risky investment, and farmers can find themselves struggling to repay loans and unable to purchase inputs for the following season.
However, crop insurance can ease the transition from recurrent food insecurity to market-oriented agriculture, helping to strengthen farmers’ livelihoods.
AFEX has been financing farmers to access necessary inputs like seeds, crop protection products, and fertilizer to supplement the government’s subsidy program.
Between March and May 2022, the company financed 3,000 farmers, covering 25,000 acres in Uasin Gishu County and plans to finance 10,000 farmers covering 80,000 acres in Uasin Gishu and Trans Nzoia Counties and parts of Elgeyo Marakwet for the 2023 season.
Moreover, AFEX is providing farmers with planting fertilizer, top-dressing fertilizer, herbicide seeds, crop yield insurance, and agronomy services.
The company is also planning to expand to other counties like Elgeyo Marakwet, Nakuru, Narok and other crops like coffee.
And with more than 15 warehouses spread across two counties, the company has traded over 11,000 metric tons of maize.
By Rennish Okong’o