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State seeks insurers for crops in 33 new counties

Muringato village
A farmer in Muringato village, Nyeri, weeds her withering crops during a past drought. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI  

Kenya is seeking to expand crop insurance coverage to 33 counties through a government partnership with insurers to encourage more farmers to practice commercial farming.

Through an invitation to underwriters to participate in the expanded crop insurance programme (CIP), the government said it would initially target maize, pulses and potato.

“CIP will be delivered via a 50-50 percent premium payment module where farmers will pay 50 percent with the government subsidising the rest. Farm sizes start at a quarter of an acre to 20 acres; farmers with over 20 acres will enjoy the subsidy for the first 20 acres but pay the full premium for the remaining acreage,’ it said.

The invitation set to take effect during the 2019/20 and 2020/21 planting seasons comes months after 12,000 farmers from Meru, Uasin Gishu, Bungoma, Kilifi, Nakuru, Narok and 14 other counties received Sh100 million compensation for failed crops.

The payments were for the maize crop insured in the last season under a project aimed at enhancing food security.

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CIP is modelled on the Area Yield Index Insurance (AYII) mechanism piloted since 2015 when it took off with 900 farmers on board. It has since attracted 145,000 farmers with participating insurance companies being CIC, Amaco, Jubilee, UAP Old Mutual, Kenya Orient and APA Insurance.

The AYII covers crop losses attributed to natural calamities of weather, pests and disease where compensation is calculated from the difference between actual yields and a guaranteed or insured produce per acre per UAI.

In the current 2019/20 financial year, Sh300 million has been set aside for subsidising farmer crop insurance premium payments in 27 counties.

Farmer-beneficiaries are identified by the government in partnership with insurance companies where regions are subdivided into homogeneous Unit Areas of Insurance (UAI), a modality that identifies regions with similar historical yield averages.

“Towards the end of the season, the government facilitates loss assessment in all the counties, mainly via actual yields estimation using crop cutting exercises.

“Application of modern technology for crop monitoring and data management digitisation is key to enhancing the efficiency of the programme,” said the notice.

Underwriters wishing to participate have until December 10 to apply.

They should state their product promotion strategies, strong field network in target counties and documented evidence of re-insurance.

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