Farmers earn Sh100m in crop failure payout


A failed maize crop in Turkana in the past: An insurance plan is being tested to achieve food security. FILE PHOTO | NMG

At least 12,000 farmers have been paid Sh100 million for maize crop failure last season in an insurance project the government is banking on to achieve food security.

Head of crop insurance at the Agriculture ministry Jacinta Ngwiri said the farmers are from 20 counties with Meru, Uasin Gishu, Bungoma, Kilifi, Nakuru and Narok registering the highest population of farmers.

This comes just days after the Treasury unveiled the 2019/20 Budget affirming allocation of Sh300 million for subsidised crop insurance being implemented in collaboration with 27 counties.

Under the subsidised insurance project, the State pays half the premium ranging between Sh2,800 and Sh400 depending on acreage.

“At the time of inception in 2015 we started with 900 farmers but currently we have registered 425,000 farmers in agriculture-rich counties,” she said yesterday in a phone interview.

The project involves farmers insuring crops based on projected harvest with premiums calculated on production output in each region besides other risk factors. Farmers pay only 50 percent of the premium charges with State taking care of the balance.

The insurance companies participating in the project are CIC, Amaco, Jubilee, UAP Old Mutual, Kenya Orient and APA Insurance which coordinates the project on behalf of the insurers while the money is channeled through KCB and Equity banks.

“Farmers are embracing crop insurance because they have discovered it mitigates against crop failure. When rains fail farmers suffer because their harvests are affected and this is what the project seeks to address,” said Ms Ngwiri.

In Meru, 1,121 farmers from Imenti North and Tigania West sub-counties will be paid Sh9.4 million, which is double last season’s payout, signalling growing uptake of the programme, according to Martin Munene, a director in the county Agriculture department. Last year, 253 farmers were paid Sh4.5 million.

The project will be rolled out to five more counties – Imenti Central, Buuri, Tigania Central Igembe Central and Igembe North, where farmers have ben paid more than Sh1 million in premiums, he said.

Targeting maize, beans and green grams at the moment, the cover will, beginning October, be extended to Irish potatoes and in future will cover cash crops including tea and coffee, she said.