Kenya Metrological Department Director Stella Aura has announced that the long-awaited rains are expected during the third or fourth week of March.
Ms Aura said the rains will be above average, unlike the last two years when the seasonal rains have been below average leading to prolonged droughts.
Speaking at a Nakuru hotel today during a workshop for stakeholders, she appealed to farmers not to plant before the onset of the long rains, since dry planting, in most cases leads to huge losses for the farmers because the seeds fail to germinate adequately.
However, the director said due to the anticipated heavy rains they have already liaised with the concerned departments such as disaster management, ministries of Health, Agriculture, Water and the Red Cross to stay alert for mitigation of any disasters that may arise.
Ms Aura said the semi-arid areas such as Northeastern are projected to have below-average rainfall, and advised farmers to network with the departments of agriculture for the fast-maturing crops suitable for the lesser amount of rains.
She urged the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government to continue supplying the ASAL areas with relief food and water for the animals until there’s sufficient forage for their animals.
The prolonged drought compounded by below-average rainfall was attributed to the dying livestock in the pastoral areas.
Ms Aura said the above-average rainfall was also likely to increase vector diseases such as Malaria and Chikungunya at the Lake Basin and Coastal regions and petitioned the ministries of Health and Water to prepare for such eventualities.
She noted that the enhanced rainfall was good for farming, but, there was a likely increase of pests, and the Ministry of Agriculture was advised to prepare adequately by having enough pesticides to assist the farmers alleviate them.
The director prevailed on the county disaster management teams at the Lake Basin areas to stay alert due to the projected lightning disasters in the region, and flash floods.
By Veronica Bosibori