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Depressed short rains to affect food production

Murang’a residents have been urged to plant drought resistant and early maturing crops as the county is expected to receive depressed short season rainfall.

The local meteorological department has warned that most parts of Murang’a will receive below normal rainfall which will not be adequate to support some crops like maize to maturity.

The County Meteorological Director Mr. Paul Murage has observed only a few areas, especially those in the upper zone of the county, will receive close to normal rainfall.

The short rains, Murage added, will be poorly distributed both in time and space, noting that onset of the seasonal rains is expected to be between October 15 and 20.

“The short rains are expected to last for about two months as the forecast indicates the rainy season will go up to December 25,” remarked Murage.

The director however said despite the expected depressed rains, isolated incidents of storms that could cause flash floods are likely to occur in few parts of the county.

“Reduced seasonal rainfall amounts, late onset, early cessation and poor distribution is likely to negatively affect agricultural production especially lower and middle zones.

Agricultural and livestock extension officers are therefore expected to advise farmers on crops they need to plant and especially the early maturing crops,” Murage told KNA in his office Tuesday.

Farmers are also expected to adopt climate smart technologies, innovations and management practices as well as adopt conservation agriculture.

“The depressed rains can support farming of legumes which take a short time to mature and also growing of fodder for livestock,” he added.

Murage further stated that with adequate preparations, the county can avoid some of the likely negative impacts, while taking full advantage of the positive ones.

The director further noted that water volume in dams and water pans among other sources will reduce due to depressed rains, while urging locals to harvest and store water using tanks at their homes.

“Water for irrigation may be insufficient and this may spark conflicts among farmers who share one source of water to irrigate their farms,” he highlighted.

Murang’a county hosts Ndakaini dam which is main water reservoir for Nairobi and its environs, thus the expected reduced rains may lead water shortage at the capital city.

In the last rainy season, some parts of Murang’a County, especially those in middle and lower zones experienced crop failure due to inadequate rainfall.

By Bernard Munyao

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