Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ethiopia - Making livestock a secure asset

Insurance for Ethiopian livestock is poised to become more widespread as it will now be supported by weather information and satellite imagery. The pilot project nearing completion in Asai, Kenya aims to provide insurance companies with the necessary information to offer policies insuring livestock owners against disease and drought.

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), currently operating in 15 countries, is developing satellite imagery to plot agro-climatic information and create an animal survival capacity database. This data will supply insurers with the tools to properly calculate risk indexes and create policies tailored to the specifics of the land.

Carlos Sere (PhD), director general of ILRI, told Capital that one of the major ways ILRI is working to help poor pastoralists is to reduce the risks of drought, famine and disease. This information portal will provide the data to facilitate insurance not only in Ethiopia, but also throughout the world.

"It is not good enough to give pastoralists a good breed of cow; if there is drought risk, that cow will die," says Dr. Sere. "This mechanism will help to manage risks. Previous approaches concentrated on increasing grazing and watering points, but this initiative targets the financial side of the business."



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