Kenyan economist Dr Andrew Mude wins the 2016 Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application

Andrew Mude (R)

In the past we have been treated to gross images of dead and dying livestock every time drought hits the northern parts of Kenya. This usually has the consequence of leaving the herding community in deep and lasting poverty. Well that is a thing of the past. This is due to the Index Based Livestock Insurance (IBLI) developed by a Kenyan economist Dr Andrew Mude who works at International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

IBLI provides insurance cover for the never before insured communities whose livelihood depends on herding cattle, goats, sheep and camels in the remote, arid and drought prone lowlands in the Horn of Africa. This cover uses satellite data to achieve an innovative and highly effective solution that helps livestock herders to reduce the costly drought risk that they face in this region.

The cover is innovative due to the fact that in the past it was highly impractical and costly for insurance claim adjusters to travel to the drought stricken areas to confirm dead animals and pay claims. IBLI eliminates the need for such visual confirmation of stock losses by using satellite data to monitor grazing conditions, when these conditions fall below a certain threshold this data serves as a proxy for dead animals and insurance payouts are made. By early 2016, 11,800 IBLI contracts had been sold representing an insured livestock value of $5,350,000 and $149,007 indemnity payments made to insured pastoralists.

Since the launch of IBLI in 2008, Mude and his team has engaged local herders and leaders in building and delivering extension education programs. They have done this by employing videos, cartoons and radio broadcast so as to increase understanding of the principles and coverage of the insurance plans hence the increased uptake.

For his work Dr. Mude was awarded the 2016 Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application endowed by the Rockerfeller Foundation yesterday at an event held at ILRI. However, he will formally receive his award plus a cash prize of $10,000 at an event which will be held on October 12th 2016 in Des Moines, Iowa, USA as part of the 2016 World Food Prize international symposium.