Ethiopia’s Cash Cow Programme

Farmers in Ethiopia have joined a program that helps them borrow money to purchase a dairy cow and get it insured. The milk would bring in much-needed income – as much as $10.45 a day. As climate change tests the livelihoods of crop farmers and herders, the innovative scheme aims to foster a culture of saving and micro-insurance – but not all has gone smoothly. Run by UK-based nonprofit Farm Africa, the project organizes farmers into savings groups and links them with micro-finance companies that give them loans to buy cows for extra income. They then sign up to insurance policies to ensure they can still repay their loans if their cows die. But some farmers complain such market-driven initiatives leave participants waiting too long for the money to come in. According to Farm Africa, since the project launched in 2015, it has established more than 340 village savings and loans associations, through which households have put away more than $100,000 and farmers have accessed nearly $70,000 in loans. Addis Ababa-based Nyala Insurance S.C., which provides the livestock cover, said payouts to a few farmers had been delayed. That was mainly because of the technology Nyala agents use to record and submit claims while in the field, said Solomon Zegeye, micro-insurance business manager at the company.


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