The government will roll out livestock insurance to all 14 arid and semi-arid counties to help safeguard cattle during drought.
Environment secretary Judi Wakhungu said the uptake of the product had hit 11,800 households with an insured premium of Sh 5.3 billion since the beginning of the year.
She said the 5,012 pastoralists who insured animals last year received Sh15 million compensation after their region suffered drought leading to livestock deaths.
The minister spoke at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Kabete in Nairobi when she joined ILRI staff in honouring Andrew Mude with a Sh1 million Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application.
The economist was hailed for championing development and actualisation of the Index-Based Livestock Insurance product, which has been in the making for the past eight years.
Announcing the 2016 winner, World Food Prize Foundation president Ambassador Kenneth Quinn hailed Dr Mude’s work saying time had come for Kenya to appreciate innovators’ works that touch the lives of the poor in society.
“Dr Mude has helped insurance companies appreciate satellite data as evidence for available vegetation to consider state of livestock in Northern Kenya. Insurance is now an accepted norm in this region, especially after the payouts which goes a long way to show Dr Mude’s ingenuity paid off,” said Mr Quinn.
ILRI director Jimmy Smith urged scientists to consider innovating products that directly help improve the lives of the poor adding that ILRI would continue supporting the project to its fruition and replication across Africa’s 50 million pastoralists.
“The best technology is one that directly touches the lives of the farmer out there in the villages thereby helping unlock their economic potential for better livelihoods and making them a key contributor to the national economy,” said Mr Smith.
US Ambassador Bob Godec said his government would continue helping Kenya educate its people thereby ensuring it had a ready pool of innovators keen on formulating market solutions for various problems afflicting the society.
This, he noted, could then be replicated across the country once the educated Kenyans return home from US universities.
Last year 4,000 Kenyans flew out to join US universities with local schools assisted with books and funds to put up learning facilities in the ASAL areas.