The government has launched a Ksh15.9 billion project to cushion pastoralists in 21 counties in the arid and semi-arid lands (ASALS) against vagaries of climate change.
Speaking in Naibor, Laikipia County during the launch of the De-risking, Inclusion and Value Enhancement (DRIVE) in Naibor, Laikipia County, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua said ASAL counties are the future of the country and insurance is critical in reducing losses to disasters.
“The Drive project is complementary to our recovery and resilience plans of increasing income of the over 13 million pastoralists. This is through reducing vulnerability to poverty and ultimately, the year-in-year-out expenditure on drought emergency and mitigation measures,” he said.
Mr Gachagua said the over Ksh150 billion livestock subsector is key to the economy of the country specially the government puts in place measures in the value chain as well as expanding the existing exports market.
He said the Kenya Kwanza administration prioritises the livestock subsector as underpinned by Vision 2030, Medium-Term Plan, 2023-2027, which identifies agriculture insurance as a mechanism of sustaining export market chains.
“The subsector grossly underperformed in exports. This is in spite of the immense opportunity of meat export from the current 0.06%, to a potential of 5%, to the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and beyond. Achieving this will translate to an annual export value of Ksh300 billion from the current Ksh4 billion,” Mr Gachagua said.
The project has been on pilot since November 2022. Over 17,000 pastoralists in the Counties of Wajir, Garissa, Tana River, and Samburu registered for insurance. They paid 20% premium while the government remitted a subsidy of 80% amounting to KSh.192 million.
The insured pastoralists have qualified for initial savings incentive deposits of Ksh6,000 each, amounting to Ksh100 million in the four counties. Under the DRIVE insurance, pay-outs are being made to the beneficiaries for the October-December 2022 short rains.
The Deputy President lauded security agents in Laikipia County and other parts of the North Rift for reigning in on bandits, who have been stealing livestock.
He assured the residents that bandits will be a thing of the past. “We are keen on restoring security of the region. We will deal with theft of livestock for the residents to sleep like other Kenyans without having to worry. We will do all it takes,” Mr Gachagua said.
The Deputy President said the security agents deployed to the North Rift will not leave. “Let the bandits look for alternative businesses. Our officers are going nowhere” he said.
The leaders of the county, led by Governor Joshua Irungu asked the National Government to increase the number of the National Police Reservists officers. The Deputy President said the national Government is ready to employ more of these officers to complement the other security agencies in ending cattle rustling.
On the other hand, Mr Gachagua said the Ruto Administration has prioritised public private partnerships in drilling boreholes, and building water reservoirs as one of the resilience strategies for arid and semi-arid lands.