Rain at last who should celebrate more, hustlers?

A flooded section of Lusaka Road in Nairobi after a heavy downpour in March 2023. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Kenyans can breathe a sigh of relief as rain has finally come.

Many have shared evidence of rain through photos and video clips. This clearly shows how helpless we are against nature and its forces despite all the advances in technology.

Clearly, the men and women at the bottom of the pyramid, popularly called hustlers should celebrate more. They are nearer to nature and feel the effects of drought more.

They rarely have financial reserves or savings and any disruption of natural cycles hits them hard.

The drought is worse because agriculture, and to be specific low technology agriculture dominates our economy. How many farmers use tractors or combine harvesters?

The exhausted soil, because fallowing is rare, as land shortage bites leads to lower productivity.

That is why subsidies have been debated and become a political issue. It's one way to help farmers lower the cost of production.

Has anyone done a scientific study on the long-term effect of using artificial fertilisers on crop productivity?

The affluent may not feel the effect of drought, they have reserves or savings and can cope with higher prices. This can easily lead to a culture of "money can buy anything" and build insensitivity.

I recall recently a young man buying tomatoes in a supermarket worth Sh27. The weight had to be reduced - his budget was a maximum of Sh30. Other people would bother about buying too much. The winning formula in 2022 polls was that the next regime would be sensitive to the plight of such consumers or better voters.

Drought bring out our vulnerability to natural cycles of seasons and economic cycles. In developing countries the two cycles are close. In developed countries they are disentangled; that is why Amatya Sen, a Nobel laureate, long noted that democracies rarely suffer from famine.

It is unlikely that the non-hustlers will notice the coming of the rains beyond traffic jams. But the hustlers will be relieved as food prices fall. Remember, the poor, according to Engels Law spend a higher percentage of their income on food.

We all hope that the economic transformation agenda of the new government will blunt the effect of drought and natural cycles on our pockets. We hope to celebrate the coming of the rains as part of great cycles of nature, not economic cycles. How are you celebrating the rains? Talk to us.

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