Farmers in Nyandarua and its environs are grappling with the possibility of crop failure following the change in rain patterns, as the Meteorological Department warn them to brace for tougher times ahead.
The farmers, who relied on rain-fed agriculture for survival, have opted to dig deeper into their pockets and irrigate their crops, waiting for more reliable downpours, while others have to watch their crops wither away slowly.
John Mwangi, a maize farmer from Kiriita, Mairo- Inya Location, lamented that the weather had been showing signs of rainfall but no substantial rain was forthcoming.
“It is very distressful as a farmer, to plant your crop and watch it die. There is little to do because we do not know whether if we replant the crops, they will suffer the same fate,” wonders Mwangi.
“We received hopeful information from the Meteorological Department but the long rains expected did not come. No one would want to incur losses twice because the inputs such as fertilizers, seeds and herbicides are also costly to purchase,” Mwangi added.
Beatrice Wangeci, a farmer in Nyahururu, opted to water her three-acre potato plantation using a mechanized sprinkler, with the hope to resuscitating the crop that lagged at the flowering stage.
“I hired a water bowser, tractor and a pump to be able to water this piece. The measure is not sustainable as I relied on a small river for the supply,” lamented Wangeci, who had to watch her maize plantation wither and die.
The Nyandarua County Meteorological Department in a forecast for the next five days, predicted that light to moderate rainfall will be experienced over few areas in the County from end of June to beginning of July.
“On Tuesday and Wednesday, this week, morning hours will witness cloudy conditions that will break into sunny intervals in parts of Ol-Jororok and Ol-Kalou. Kipipiri and Kinangop areas will experiencing showers, characterised by thunderstorms in the afternoons,” noted County Met Director, Misheck Mutembei.
Joseph Njuguna, a potato farmer from the area, lamented that the failed rains had sent panic among the farming community and in the surrounding environs.
“Our crops have been suffering from water stress and are on the verge of drying up considering that farming is our main source of income. All the rain predictions we have previously received from the forecasts have been very misleading.
We do not know what to do because the crops are already planted and there’s no way to undo that, unless the situation changes, we can only expect crop failure,” Njuguna added.
The rain-fed agriculture system which is widely practiced in the region is rendered vulnerable to the unpredictability of weather patterns resulting from climate change.
By Rahab Naimutie and Anne Sabuni