Monday, August 15, 2022
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Drought source of concerned

Unlike in the past, when most people in Nakuru County prayed for a peaceful election, farmers are praying for rain, as they watch their crops wither by the day because they rue imminent food crises due to shortage of rainfall and severe drought. 

The Chairman of the South Rift Farmers’ Association, Justus Monda, said the lack of rainfall was the immediate concern of farmers because it was disheartening as they watch their maize and beans wither. 

Interviewed by KNA today in Nakuru, the Chairman  the deficient and inadequate rainfall was keeping many farmers awake because for the last three years the same pattern played out. 

“When we planted in March and April, there was a lot of hope for adequate rainfall, but since the end of May, it has dwindled and it’s painful as we watch our investment drying slowly by slowly,” says Monda.   

He said even if it starts rainfall next week, there are areas where the maize have completely withered and it looks like onion leaves, hence farmers have no choice but to turn the plants  into silage for their cows. 

Monda  urged the next government to make weather focus a major concern and even devolve their officers up to the ward levels, to advise farmers on what to plant at any given time, to reduce the excessive losses farmers have incurred in the last three years. 

The Chairman said unlike other counties, Nakuru has four weather zones, depending on the location, and that increases the confusion among farmers.

He gave an example of the Rongai Sub-county that has both arid and semi-arid areas, and while one part rains the other remains totally dry. 

Drying maize on farms in Rongai Sub-county,  Nakuru  County

Also, he appealed to the next government to popularize other foodstuffs, especially traditional ones, such as sorghum, which was more resistant to drought compared to maize. 

Additionally, he said some countries in Southern Africa, such as Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe have already advised their small-scale farmers to concentrate on sorghum and finger millet. 

Moreover, he said climate change, will definitely dictate what becomes staple foods since growing maize has become more of a lottery-of-win-or loss.




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