Farmers Urged to Insure Livestock Against Drought, Says Chamisa

Andrew Chamisa
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MASVINGO – The Livestock Research Director, Andrew Chamisa, has advised farmers to consider insuring their cattle against drought, emphasizing the importance of insurance, especially during debilitating periods such as the current drought affecting Zimbabwe.

In an interview with The Mirror at Makoholi Research Institute, Chamisa highlighted that insurance provides farmers with a safety net, enabling them to restock their herds once the drought subsides. He urged farmers to take proactive measures to protect their animals and ensure their livelihoods.

Chamisa recommended that farmers utilize local resources such as stover for feed preparation and, for those with access to water, emphasized the significance of planting pastures to sustain their livestock during dry periods.

Furthermore, he advised farmers to destock nonproductive cattle, particularly the old and non-breeding ones, while they are still in good condition. This strategic move allows farmers to salvage value from their herds and allocate resources towards sustaining the remaining livestock.

Brian Nyasha Nyamande, an Agronomist from Old Mutual Insurance Company, acknowledged the low uptake of livestock insurance among farmers due to perceived high costs. However, he emphasized the importance of insurance in mitigating risks such as disease outbreaks, natural disasters, and theft.

Lloyd Gumbo, the Public Relations Manager of the Insurance and Pensions Commission (IPEC), echoed similar sentiments, emphasizing the need for livestock insurance to protect farmers from various risks. Gumbo highlighted initiatives being undertaken to increase agricultural insurance uptake, including the development of regulatory frameworks and consumer awareness programs.

Despite the challenges, there has been a notable increase in the uptake of agricultural insurance, particularly for the 2023/2024 agricultural season, rising to at least 7% from an average of 3% in previous years. This upward trend underscores the growing recognition of insurance as a vital risk management tool among Zimbabwean farmers.