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Govt Launches Sh. 15.9 billion livestock Project Safeguarding Pastoralists from Drought

The Government has launched a Sh. 15.9 billion project for pastoralists in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) meant to safeguard them from drought as well as boost their economies.

The State Department for Livestock Development, in partnership with ZEP-RE (PTA Reinsurance Company), Kenya Development Corporation (KDC), and the World Bank Group (WBG), on Thursday launched the De-Risking, Inclusion, and Value Enhancement of pastoral economies (DRIVE) project in Laikipia.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua while launching the DRIVE project in Naibor area of Laikipia North Sub County said that 21 counties shall benefit from the rollout that is meant to cushion livestock keepers from deaths of their animals due to drought and other ravages of the weather.

“The livestock subsector plays an important economic and social-cultural role in Kenya. It contributes between 10% and 13% to the National Gross Domestic Product.

Besides, it employs up to 50% of the agricultural labour force. In ASAL Counties, the Sh.150 billion subsector is a source of up to 95% of family income,” The Deputy President said.

The DP noted that the project, which has been on pilot since November 2022, was in tandem with the government’s determination to build strong and resilient communities as part of the fight on the threat of Climate Change.

Under the DRIVE programme, pastoralists insure their animals and get compensated in case of death through drought and also receive funds to purchase fodder for the remaining livestock.

Gachagua further noted that during the fourth quarter of 2022, over 17,000 pastoralists in the Counties of Wajir, Garissa, Tana River, and Samburu registered for insurance.

“They paid a 20% premium; the Government paid a subsidy of 80%, amounting to Sh.192 million. The insured pastoralists have qualified for initial savings incentive deposits of Sh.6, 000 each, amounting to Sh.100 million in the four Counties,” He said.

The DP also announced that over 43,000 pastoralists have bought livestock insurance, with the Government paying an 80% premium subsidy of more than Sh462 Million.

“This shows our commitment to supporting livestock farmers so that they are not left behind. In five years, livestock farmers will enjoy improved access to affordable index-based drought insurance and other financial services like savings and credit,” Gachagua said.

He added that the farmers would also be linked to reliable markets while promoting youth and women in the livestock value chain through private-public partnership.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi who was also present said that his ministry was keen on uplifting the welfare of pastoral communities across the country.

“This is why we, as a ministry are seeking to have pastoralists join cooperative societies where they can access funds to restock their herds after a dry spell,” Linturi said.

Laikipia Governor Joshua Irungu welcomed the project saying that it would benefit a substantial population of the county whose livelihoods are derived from livestock keeping.

“This project will not only uplift the lives of our pastoral communities but will also relieve them from over-reliance on relief supplies and conflicts that arise as they search for water and pasture for their animals,” Irungu said.

 By Martin Munyi


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