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FOOD insecurity likely as crops wither

 ONLY a quarter of expected harvest will be realised as October-December rains seem to have ceased.

John Musembi in his farm in Itivanzou village, Mwingi North Constituency, Kitui County. Photo/MUSYOKA NGUI

National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) Kitui County Coordinator Francis Koma said Tuesday that only half of the farmers in the county planted in the October-December rains.

Among the half who planted, they did so late. Kitui County experienced rains for about four weeks. That is, late November to December. Koma said that such crops will not reach maturity but wither.

“Although we received exceedingly good rains in the entire Kitui County, our people are not food secure because they planted late. We have a situation where farmers did not plant any crops as they gave up hope when the arrival of the rains delayed,”, said Mr Koma.

The regional county coordinator for NDMA lamented that most farmers planted when rains were about to dissipate since they suddenly increased giving an impression that they will be reliable. But that was not to be.

This is likely to jeopardize food security in Kitui County which has previously experienced drought.

Kenya Meteorological Department weekly forecast for the week ending January 17 said that short rains may have come to a halt.

Kitui County Director of Meteorology Daniel Mbithi said that two thirds of the short rains appear to have stopped. Mbithi urged local agricultural extension officers to guide farmers on practices that will benefit them after the end of rains.

“Mornings and afternoons are expected to be generally sunny. Nights are expected to be partly cloudy or CAVOK (Cloud And Visibility OK, that is, clear sky),” said the forecast report in part.

The county is expected to experience strong easterly to northerly winds which will blow for over 25 knots or 12.9/s.


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