La Nina conditions have been linked to the country’s poor rainfall performance.
The poor rains started towards the end of last year, even as farmers urgently wait for the long rains predicted to commence this month.
It is during the last three months of 2021 that the rains started beating farmers.
An analysis by the weatherman for the October, November and December (2021) short rains found the downpour to be below average.
The analysis by Meteorological Department's Director of Meteorological Services Ms Stella Aura shows rainfall in the three months was depressed. The season, says Ms Aura, was characterised by prolonged dry spells during the first half and heavy storms during the second half of the season.
Laikipia meteorological station is the only one that recorded above normal rainfall (125.6 per cent).
“The start of the seasonal rains (onset) delayed over most parts of the country apart from a few areas over the highlands west of the Rift Valley, the Lake Victoria Basin, central and south Rift Valley where rainfall continued from September 2021 as has been,” reads the analysis dated February 22, 2022.
It also gives a forecast of the long rains starting this month. According to the forecast, the long rains will be in April, which will prolong further the anguish by impatient farmers.
The food basket counties of Uasin Gishu, Nandi, Bomet and Trans Nzoia however should expect above-normal rainfall ranges.
In these areas, the rains were poised to begin in the second to the third week of this month - for Uasin Gishu, Nandi and Trans Nzoia counties ending in June 2022. Rains in Bomet was expected to start last month and end in June.
The forecast shows these rains will be conducive for farming. “Thus, the farming communities in the agricultural counties of the Lake Victoria Basin, highlands west and east of the Rift Valley, the south and central Rift Valley, south-eastern lowlands are advised to take advantage of the expected rains and maximise on crop yield through appropriate farming,” she says.
She advises farmers to liaise with the Ministry of Agriculture and extension officers for further advice. “The expected rainfall will lead to further soil erosion,” says Ms Aura.
The rains, coupled with high temperatures, she notes, may lead to the emergence of pests and diseases.