Long rains to start fourth week of March, Weatherman

Farmers planting seed cane at Mwitoti area in Mumias East.

The Kenya Meteorological Department says the much-awaited long rains will start in the last week of March in Rift Valley and Central regions.

The long rains have delayed, sending farmers who had started planning for planting into confusion and panic.

According to Food and Agriculture Organisation, farmers, who are used to rain-fed farming systems, are being pushed into dryer, more marginal areas where they become increasingly vulnerable to drought and the unpredictability of weather patterns resulting from climate change.

 Going forward, experts say farmers will have to think outside the box and embrace measures like irrigation. Though large-scale irrigation projects are often unsustainable, a variety of small-scale, affordable techniques can increase food production.

They include water harvesting, low-lift pumps and treadle pumps which are simple, inexpensive walking pumps have enabled poor farmers to increase their incomes during the dry season.

In addition to adapting to frequent changes in weather patterns, farmers have been urged to work with meteorological department to know when rains are expected to adjust their planting seasons accordingly.

According to International Water Management Institute, rain-fed agriculture accounts for 95 per cent of farmed land in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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