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Kisumu to build digital weather stations to boost crop production

By Kepher Otieno | Published Wed, August 22nd 2018 at 00:00, Updated August 21st 2018 at 23:29 GMT +3
Kisumu County Deputy Governor Mathews Owili, with the County Executive Member for Tourism and Sports Achy Alai while addressing the press in Kisumu. [Collins Oduor/Standard]

The county government will construct seven modern automatic weather stations in the next five years,the deputy governor has said.

According to Mathews Owili, the weather stations will cost at least Sh35 million.

Dr Owili was speaking when he commissioned an automatic weather station at Ayueyo village yesterday. The station cost the county Sh5 million.

An automatic weather station has sensors that monitor environmental conditions.

The county director of meteorological services, Paul Oloo, said the stations would help farmers plan when to plant and harvest.

“With the weather stations in place, it will be easier for farmers to predict when to cultivate cash crops such as potatoes, rice, maize in real time,” said Mr Oloo.

The official said information from weather stations will be used for research to optimise crop irrigation patterns, pest control models and ultimately improve the quality of crops.

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Soil moisture

Monitoring soil moisture and temperature and maintaining these parameters at the correct levels is crucial for cash crops that have short harvest cycles.

Data on temperature and wind speed, he added, would also help determine the right time to spray pesticides.

“The weather station will help individual farmers to determine whether a particular region is ideal to grow a specific crop depending on soil texture,” Owili said.

Farmers will also be forewarned about adverse weather conditions such as hail storms and excessive or deficient rains.

The new weather station has a data logger component that will relay information to farmers, fishermen and line county officials simultaneously.

It will provide temperature, wind speed and direction, humidity, soil conditions, rainfall quantities and other variables every five minutes to a 15km radius.


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