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Rains likely to destroy crop yields, threaten food security in Murang’a

The  ongoing rains in many parts of Murang’a County are posing challenge in harvesting of various food crops.

Many areas within the county for the last three days have recorded more than average rains with some parts receiving more than 200 percent rainfall.

Maize crops in the farms are ready for harvesting buts due to wet weather the exercise of removing the yields is becoming a big challenge to farmers.

The  Murang’a County Metrological Officer, Paul Murage has said the off season rains are expected to continue up to the first week of February.

He said there is risk for a lot of yield to go to waste if precautions are not well observed while harvesting and storing the food crops from farms.

Murage noted that farmers may consider cutting upper part of maize stalks and avoiding harvesting the crops this time rains are being experienced in the county.

“Farmers should slash their maize stalks rather than uprooting, and after harvesting the maize later they leave the remaining stalks lying on the ground as this will facilitate mulching,” Murage added.

He observed the yield should be removed from farms once sunny weather sets in probably my mid-February.

“There is need for agriculture extension officers and public health officers to come out and advise farmers on proper ways of harvesting and storing their yields to avoid wastage,” he added.

The Director added that if precautions are not taken, harvested maize grains may develop aflotoxin posing health risk to consumers.

“The required moisture of stored grains should be at 13 percent. More moisture content is dangerous as it may make the grains to develop aflotoxin,” noted Murage.

He asked the agricultural officers to provide farmers with moisture-meter to help in testing moisture content in the grains.

Proper storage facilities he further said are needed to ensure the grains don’t develop molds and are were kept for future use.

A section of farmers from lower parts of the county where maize is grown largely want the county government to assist them with grain drying machines.

The farmers fear that the region may experience hunger in future if current yields are not taken care off.

James Kariuki, a farmer in Kambirwa area said his maize crops yielded well following adequate rains but expressed fear of all yield going to wastage due to ongoing rains.

“I was expecting a bumper harvest but I am regretting the rains may destroy most of my yields. The rains are not giving us time to harvest crops from farms,” Kariuki told KNA.

By  Bernard Munyao/Aurelia Wanjiru

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