A new insurance scheme has been launched in northern Kenya which offers herdsmen a chance to protect their livestock against drought.

The initiative uses satellite technology to check the pasture available for the herders. Arid northern Kenya suffered a severe drought last year and hundreds of thousands of animals died. Until now insuring herds of livestock in rural Africa has been all but impossible.

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Partly because it has simply been too expensive for insurers to go and count the number of dead animals which might be spread over a vast rural area.

But a new initiative launched in Marsabit in northern Kenya offers some hope at a time when frequent droughts are hitting communities hard.

Commercially sustainable

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) says satellite imagery will be used to monitor the landscape – if the images show a lack of pasture then it will be assumed the animals are likely to die and the owners can receive a pay-out.

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