Commodities

State crop insurance grows to 37 counties

Perkerra

Maize plantation. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Smallholder farmers in 37 out of Kenya’s 47 counties will now be able to access a State-backed subsidised crop insurance scheme that covers them against climate-related losses.
  • The programme previously backed by six underwriters had until now been available to growers in 28 counties.
  • The State is now recruiting more insurers to boost the programme, which covers farmland of between a half-acre to 20 acres, modelled on the Area Yield Index Insurance mechanism.

Smallholder farmers in 37 out of Kenya’s 47 counties will now be able to access a State-backed subsidised crop insurance scheme that covers them against climate-related losses.

The programme previously backed by six underwriters had until now been available to growers in 28 counties.

The State is now recruiting more insurers to boost the programme, which covers farmland of between a half-acre to 20 acres, modelled on the Area Yield Index Insurance mechanism.

"The Government subsidy is on a first-come-first-served basis and when the subsidy limit is reached the sales window is closed,” said the Agriculture ministry yesterday while inviting insurers to bid for the expanded scheme.

"The crop insurance programme now invites sealed bids from eligible bidders for the provision of crop insurance cover for farmers in 37 counties.”

SMALLHOLDER FARMERS

As at 2019, it had attracted 409,000 smallholder farmers in 27 counties insuring crops against a loss risk of Sh2 billion.

In August last year, six underwriters partnering with the government in the scheme released Sh117.5 million in compensation to 25,000 smallholder farmers for climate-related crop losses.

Millions of rural households in Kenya rely on agriculture for their income, but a warming climate is bringing more intense and frequent droughts, disrupting production.

RISKY BUSINESS

Small farmers produce up to 80 percent of the food supply in Africa and Asia, and face a 90 percent chance of crop loss due to factors outside of their control, such as pest outbreaks and drought.

The expanded programme will now cover counties including Uasin Gishu, Trans Nzoia, Elgeyo Marakwet, West Pilot, Homa Bay, Bomet, Kisumu, Kwale, Kilifi, Taita Taveta, Narok and Kajiado.

Others are Kakamega, Bungoma, Vihiga, Busia, Nyandarua, Kiambu, Nyeri, Meru, Laikipia, Samburu, Tharaka Nithi and Baringo.

Additional counties to be covered include Kisii, Nyamira, Migori, Nandi, Embu, Kirinyaga, Murang'a, Nakuru, Kitui, Machakos, Makueni and Kericho.