The trading activities in Bamba and Kaloleni areas of Kilifi County have been paralyzed by an acute drought wreaking havoc in the region.
Prolonged dry weather conditions has rendered most parts of Kaloleni and Bamba Wards dry with the acute water shortages affecting dairy, beef, poultry and crop farming businesses.
The Chairman of Bamba Dairy Co-operative Society Suleiman Ali Jefwa said the cooperative has a membership of 158 registered dairy farmers but due to the drought, the active members are now less than 10, seriously reducing milk supply to the dairy plant.
“A member becomes dormant when he or she has no milk. So the membership is high, but it reaches a point when you look at the list of farmers in production at that time are 40, 30 or 20 and sometimes less than 10 depending on the season of production. We have looked at this and found it is contributed by the two main problems, lack of water and poor animal feeds,” Jefwa said.
He added that some farmers are forced to temporarily leave the region to search for water and pastures for their animals, therefore become unavailable to supply milk to the milk cooperative hence adversely affecting society business.
A dairy businessman in the area Kitsao Ndundi is among those who have been greatly affected by the drought and can no longer produce enough milk to be able to supply to the co-operative.
“Right now, cows have been affected by the drought. Even sometimes in the morning you have to help the animals stand up. There is no water, there is no grass,” he said.
Water scarcity has interfered with people’s normal activities since they are forced to spend a lot of time walking long distances in search of water.
“Men have to accompany their wives very early in the morning due to security concerns. By the time they come back home, they are late for work,” Said Hussein Karisa, a resident from Viragoni village said.
The Residents running chicken rearing businesses have been equally affected. Mary Mjeni a resident at Kayafungo village in Kaloleni is doing broiler chicken business, but she could no longer afford the water demand of her project. She explains that she needed eight 20-litre containers of water every day. With the drought, she could not get enough water so she had to close down some of the chicken structures.
“I had four structures for rearing broiler chickens. I only have one now because of the water shortage problem”, she said.
Bamba and parts of Kaloleni have been hit by drought leaving residents without water and food almost every year.
Residents have called on the National and County governments to find lasting solutions such as constructing dams and water pans that can provide sufficient water to sustain them and their businesses through the dry seasons.
By Jackson Msanzu and Breen Muhonjia