An affordable insurance cover for Smallholder farmers in Kenya

Small holder maize farmers in Kenya with crop on less than five acres are set to benefit from a subsidized insurance covers if their expected yields fall by more than 20 per cent due to extreme weather conditions.
This is good news to more than 70 per cent of maize farmers in the country who are normally forced to endure hard social economic times including famine when tough weather condition like drought, floods and hail stones affect their yields. The insurance cover will act as a refund for poor yields arising from bad weather condition, hence providing them a new starting point.
How it works
This noble insurance plan is as a result of a partnership between the Kenyan government and seven leading insurance companies including APA Insurance, Amaco, CIC, Heritage, Kenya Orient, UAP and Jubilee with the government paying 50 percent of total premiums for farmers.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries, premiums paid by the farmers will be tied to the historical average yield of a particular area with zones with higher yields paying an average of Sh1367 per acre while those with low yield history paying an average of Sh456 per acre
This mean, a maize farmer with two acres of maize plant in Trans Nzoia, a high maize producing region in Kenya is supposed to pay Sh2734, the government will pay a half of the amount. His counterpart with the same size of maize farm in a low producing region like Wajir is supposed to pay Sh912, with a half cleared by the State. The modalities of what a farmer in a region is supposed to pay as premium will be arrived at by those insurance companies.
Although APA Group chief executive Ashok Shah described this initiative as an all inclusion weather insurance package for smallholder farmers and a sure insulation for weather based agricultural disasters, some farmers like Eliud Mucheru from Kiambu view it as an extortion conduit by insurance companies to expand their market bases. He wants the insurance to cover include other production barriers like disease and pests if they indeed want to uplift a farmer.
However, most experts have termed this initiative as a step in the right direction by the government to guard cash starved small holder farmers against harsh and unexpected weather disasters which hamper their production every year. Kenya has an annual maize deficit of up to 10 million bags per year, forcing the government to import from neighboring countries.
Major documents and dates
Maize is the country’s staple food with an average consumption of 98 kilos per year, this according to the Kenya Maize Development Programme (KMDP)
Farmers willing to sign up for this insurance package are asked to visit any branch of insurance companies mentioned in this partnership. Some of documentations needed include the copy of title deed, authentic measurement of farm size under maize production and the farmer’s identification card.
Farmers have up to the March 14 to sign up for the cover ahead of the long rains planting season that starts in April and the second week of October for the short rains season. For more information about this insurance plan, kindly visit a nearest branch of any insurance company mentioned in this article