I am Fay Mouriah Castrol Maurice, 25 years old. I have been the force behind mobilizing and educating farmers from Migori County, Kenya to insure their farm produce against unforeseen perils. My burning desire has always been to establish an agricultural insurance company. I am the holder of a Bachelor’s degree in Actuarial Science.
Every farmer makes plans and has expectations about the path their farming activities will follow. However, experience teaches us that plans will not always unfold with certainty, and sometimes farmers’ expectations are not realized. Occasionally their plans are frustrated and their dreams grow thin because they are built on unrealistic assumptions.
In other situations, fortuitous circumstances come about – agricultural insurance holds the key to farmers’ and herders’ dreams and expectations.
The agricultural sector is the backbone of the economy and a critical source of livelihood for the inhabitants in my home county of Migori, the 2nd best maize producer and the 7th most populated county in Kenya. Nevertheless, agricultural production and farm income in this county are frequently affected by natural disasters such as droughts, floods, storms, cyclones and landslides.
Susceptibility of agriculture to these disasters is compounded by the outbreak of epidemics and man-made disasters such as fire, sale of bad seeds, fertilizers and pesticides, price crashes etc. All these events severely affect farmers through loss of production and farm income. What’s more, they are completely beyond the control of farmers.
My project aims to not only mobilize and educate farmers about agricultural insurance policies but also link them with relevant insurance companies and markets where they can sell their produce.
With the growing commercialization of agriculture increased threat from climatic change, the magnitude of loss due to unfavorable events is increasing. The question is how to protect farmers and minimizing such losses. Unfortunately for most of the farming families in Migori County, all of the important crops are either not covered by agricultural insurance schemes.
In recent times, mechanisms like contract farming and futurities trading have been established that are expected to provide some insurance against price fluctuations, whether directly or indirectly. However, I consider agricultural insurance as an important tool to effectively address the risk to production and income resulting from various natural and man-made events.
Agricultural insurance is a means of protecting farmers and agriculturalists against financial losses due to uncertainties and losses from events beyond their control. Unfortunately, agricultural insurance in the country has not made much headway even though the need to protect Kenyan farmers from climatic variability has been a constant concern of agriculture policy.
A quarter of the grant money will be used to hire 10 youth to assist in a 10-day intensive mobilization of farmers from the seven sub-counties of Migori County. Half of the grant will be used to hire 5 agricultural specialists to help us educate farmers from the seven sub-counties. The remainder will facilitate the formation of various farming co-operative societies through which farmers will easily sell their produce at competitive prices.
Blogpost and picture submitted by Fay Maurice (Migori, Kenya) – castrolmaurice[at]yahoo.com
Illustration courtesy: Neil Palmer (CIAT)
The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.
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