Institute Working to Scale-up Livestock Insurance in Pastoralist Areas

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Addis Ababa, March 19/2020( ENA) The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) said it is working to expand Index Based Livestock Insurance (IBLI) for pastoralists and agro-pastoralists in drought areas of Ethiopia.

As the livelihood of pastoralists rely solely or partly on livestock, drought related livestock mortality can have a devastating effect and make them the most vulnerable population in Ethiopia.

Over the last seven years, ILRI and its partners have pursued a comprehensive research into this  development agenda aimed at designing, developing and implementing IBLI as an effective and cost-efficient tool for enhancing pastoralists resilience to drought.

ILRI Program and Partnerships Manager, Yihenew Zewdie told ENA that the program designed to help protect pastoralists against drought related mortality of livestock was  introduced in Borena Zone of Oromia Region in 2012.

He added that in September, 2012 livestock insurance made payment to 2,500 Borana pastoralists worth five million birr based on the assumption that a significant risk in the area is erratic rainfall.

IBLI triggers payouts to contract holders in the event of severe seasonal forage scarcity during the dry season, helping pastoralists purchase the relevant inputs and services required to keep their animals alive, Yihenew stated.

It is an innovative financial solution spearheaded by the International Livestock Research Institute, in partnership with Oromia Insurance SC.

 “At trial level, especially in Borana Zone, pastoralists are buying the insurance and we have frequently seen that they are benefiting from it for continuous year. Now, at national level, what is expected from us is to scale up this lesson to other places with supportive policy and strategy in order to benefit various pastoralists.”

According to the manager, it is possible to protect livestock keepers from drought related asset losses, and contribute to national economy, if appropriate policy and strategy are put in place.

Recently, preparations are underway to benefit pastoralists in different regions, in collaboration with partners.

It is believed that the insurance not only ensures benefits of pastoralist but also allows the government to proactively and cost-efficiently respond to severe drought risks.

As close to 14 million people Ethiopians are pastoralists and agro-pastoralists, it is essential  to bring fundamental changes in this sub-sector, the manager observed.

IBLI products represent a promising and exciting innovation that could allow the benefits of insurance and protect climate-related risks vulnerable rural smallholder farmers and livestock keepers.