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October 21, 2018

Oxfam, UN to cushion farmers from losses caused by weather shocks

A village elder from Ruambwa sub-location pointing at his marooned farm.
A village elder from Ruambwa sub-location pointing at his marooned farm.

Kenya is among five countries that will receive insurance cover for farmers suffering losses caused by weather-related disasters.

This is part of a rural resilience initiative launched by the UN World Food Programme and Oxfam to protect poor farmers and strengthen their income as well as food security.

Benoit Thiry from WFP said the initiative has reached more than 57,000 farmers in Africa who are vulnerable to climate risks.

“Since 2011, more than Sh204 million has been distributed in payouts to beneficiaries from the five countries as compensation to weather-related losses,” he said.

Read: North Rift to insure its farmers against crop loss

In Kenya, it targets about 30,000 farming households so they can pay fees, start businesses and buy inputs such as seeds and fertiliser. Other countries are Ethiopia, Malawi, Zambia and Senegal.

In February, the government paid Sh175 million to farmers under the Kenya Livestock Insurance Programme.

John Mwaniki, a policy director in charge of crop insurance at the Agriculture ministry, said the government expanded crop insurance after success with livestock farmers.

He said they aim to boost farmers’ morale in case of crop failure and poor harvests.

“With the insurance programme, farmers are assured of an income, even when the rains fail — unlike before when they were left hopeless. So far, about 20 counties have been covered in the insurance programme,” he said.

In the Oxfam programme, compensation is based on estimates of rainfall, vegetation or yield, which determine the extent of the losses incurred after a disaster.

Read: Poor Farmers Will Suffer Most From Climate Change

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