The State Department of Livestock (SDL) in partnership with ZEP-RE (PTA Reinsurance Company) and support of the World Bank Group (WBG) is set to launch the Sh 18.62 billion Drive Project to boost pastoralists’ economy that has been hit by a prolonged drought.
The Project aimed at De-Risking, Inclusion and Value Enhancement of pastoral communities in the next two weeks and seeks to harbor pastoral systems at the primary level through an integrated package of financial services such as drought index insurance, savings, digital accounts, and financial education through private sector investments thus providing reliable markets to pastoralists.
It also intends to mobilize the private sector and create necessary scale to transfer the risk of drought management.
Speaking ahead of the launch at the Sarova Panafric Hotel, State Department of Livestock Development Principal Secretary (PS) Harry Kimtai said that the project is expected to have a positive impact on enhancing the climate resilience of pastoral communities and address climate change.
He added that the project will strengthen commercialization of livestock production and ensure the inclusion of marginalized and vulnerable groups including women and youth.
The PS said that in the country, it is estimated that over 150,000 pastoralists from the Arid and Semi-Arid lands (ASALs) are expected to create markets around the livestock value chain, enhance regional cooperation, peacebuilding, and mitigate climate change and in so doing, close the gender gap to accessing financial services.
“The Drive project is a critical step towards sustainable development of pastoral communities in Kenya that seeks to provide necessary support and resources which in turn increase resilience and enhance economic participation,” said Kimtai
Further, Kimtai noted that livestock is a key pillar in the economy saying that Kenya is the third largest country in livestock rearing with 10 to 13 percent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) taking 50 percent of the Agricultural exotic labour force.
Kimtai stated that as part of the Horn of Africa initiative, the Drive project seeks to build resilience of pastoral communities in Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Djibouti with over 250,000 households of about 1.6 million pastoralists expected to benefit from it across the four countries over the five year period.
At the same time, Kenya Development Corporation (KDC) Acting Director General Norah Ratemo said that Drive is a big step towards achieving sustainable and inclusive development stressing that it is a joint commitment to unlocking the full potential of the pastoral economy.
“Today marks a pivotal moment in Kenya’s development journey as we launch the project. We are confident that it will drive positive change, create new opportunities, empower communities and foster the resilient thriving economies of ASAL regions,” remarked Ratemo.
The project seeks to launch in the next two weeks and will be implemented in 21 ASAL counties including Turkana, Marsabit, Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Tana River, Isiolo, Samburu, Meru, Tharaka Nithi, Baringo, West Pokot, Narok, Lakipia, Kajiado, Makueni, Kitui, Lamu, Taita Taveta, Kilifi and Kwale.