Heed warning on poor rains and plan ahead
The much awaited long rains period may not occur, after all, according to weather forecasts. The meteorological department recently gave a plausible reason; that events in the Indian Ocean, and which resulted in cyclone Idai that caused devastation in Zimbabwe and Mozambique, resulted in low atmospheric pressure that could not drive rain clouds north towards Kenya.
Ultimately, that is glum news to most Kenyans who depend on agriculture for a livelihood. It also means sections of Kenyans bearing the brunt of drought will have to suffer much longer despite Deputy President William Ruto having assured Kenyans there are adequate food stocks, the only challenge being logistics. However, this explanation should be taken with a pinch of salt, for poor logistics is not a good enough reason for government to let its people starve to death.
Rain-fed agriculture is no longer reliable, all the more reason the government should move with speed to make the numerous irrigation schemes a reality to benefit farmers. The need to sink more boreholes cannot be overemphasised, particularly now that water shortages are becoming the new normal across the country.
Even without drought, water levels have been receding because of an increase in both human and animal populations, and also because mankind has been careless; destroying forests, and with them, water catchment areas.
It behoves the government to buy surplus grain that would otherwise go to waste from farmers and if need be, make arrangements to import maize should the country receive below average rains. Even as it does that, it should be wary of those keen to make a quick shilling from the misery of Kenyans.
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long rainsMetPoor Rains