Rain Delay Causes Panic Among Maize Farmers

Agriculture Counties Editor's Pick Food Security Uasin Gishu

Maize farmers in Uasin Gishu County now fear running into losses due to delay in the start of the long rains.

This is after most of them had prepared and planted, expecting that the rains would start as usual by Mid-March.

The Kenya Meteorological Department had issued an alert to farmers that the region was expected to receive enough rainfall during this year’s planting season.

But most parts of the County are yet to receive adequate rainfall to sustain the development of the already germinated crops.

Speaking in Moiben and Soy Constituencies the farmers expressed fears, saying most of them have planted their maize earlier with hopes and expectations of rain but till now no signs of rain yet.

A farmer, Paul Malel, said they have invested a lot in farm inputs and urged the government to intervene by subsidizing the price of farm inputs in case they would be forced to replant.

Poorly germinated maize in a farm in Soy Constituency due to prolonged drought. Photo Kiptanui Cherono

Another farmer, Aaron Kibiwott, from Soy Constituency said in the previous years the rain season used to begin by Mid-March or in early April and by mid-April, the maize would have grown a few centimeters off the ground, unlike this year.

“Previously we used to receive rainfall from the month of March and our crops used to perform very well because by April our crops would have already germinated and grown significantly,” said Cheruiyot.

Cheruiyot observed that the prolonged drought could be a result of climate change and general destruction of the environment.

“These days there are fewer trees. If you look around, you will see most trees have been cut down and this might be contributing to this situation”.

Meanwhile, farmers in the region have also been advised to practice crop diversification instead of relying solely on Maize and wheat.

The Kenya National Farmers Federation (KENAFF), Chairperson, Ruth Maraba, said due to unpredictable rain patterns in the Country the only way farmers will cushion themselves from the effects of climate changes are to plant short term crops which will help them to solve the food insecurity.

By Kiptanui Cherono

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