By Wainaina Ndung’u
The National Drought Management Agency (NMDA) has recommended that farmers be advised to avoid maize farming for two seasons to interrupt the disease cycle.
A report by NDMA released by Kieni project information officer Kiragu Kariuki says adverse weather and vagaries of the crop disease have driven the food situation to a “stressed phase”.
Although pasture availability is still good in the area according to the report, large amount of maize stalks, which are usually a dependable livestock feed have been affected by the disease and farmers have been advised not to use them.
“Expected maize yield per hectare for the season is approximately five bags as compared to long term average production of 14 bags,” Kariuki says in the monthly report for August 2012.
The NDMA reports that marginal increases in maize prices have started to be recorded in the area as a result of the unsatisfactory maize harvest threatening to leave many households at the mercy of food aid.
According to the report, per hectare harvest for other popular crops in the area is also expected to decline.
“Beans were affected at the podding stage by borers while potatoes were affected by moisture stress at tuber formation over and above the frost attack,” says the report.
Other than the necrosis disease, the food situation has been caused by sporadic long rains while chilly cold nights and windy days exposed vast areas to frost attack affecting crops and pasture.