Farmers face crop failure over failed rains

Farmers in Rongai Sub County, Nakuru County are staring at a possible serious food crisis in the next few months after rains failed in the region.

The situation has been aggravated by an invasion of the fall army worm that has destroyed hundreds of acres of maize plantations.

Jacinta Njeri Njongoro, a small holder maize farmer is disillusioned at the palpable loss on her 10 acre maize farm which is infested with the destructive worm coupled by an imminent crop failure occasioned by failed rains.

The single mother of six children had hoped to use proceeds of her now withering maize crop to sustain her children in school in September but with failed rains, her dreams have been dashed.

She expresses her disappointment at the Governments late intervention and said that future intergovernmental interventions must be fast tracked in a bid to protect farmers from imminent losses and misery.

Njeri’s story is replicated across Shalom Village, a settlement that was created for victims of the 2007/08 ethnic clashes several years ago.

Residents here, stare at despondency in the face.

Most of them depend on agriculture for their daily bread.

The beneficiaries were allocated quarter acre plots for the construction of homesteads and a further 2 acres for farming.

The residents earn their living through subsistence farming on their pieces of land and others that they lease on an annual basis.

According to Njeri, who at one time broke down as she narrated her losses, she had spent over 200,000 shillings in leasing land, preparing it for planting and purchasing of farm inputs and all of this has now gone down the drain.

Njeri says that the government should be ready to feed them, given that there is no hope for recovery of the crops.

Njeri’s fears were confirmed by the Assistant Director of Agriculture in charge of Crops (ADAC), Stanley Kipkoech who said that the current weather patterns were worrying.

He told KNA that the government was more worried about failed rains than the fall army worm invasion which could be eliminated through use of pesticides and therefore make it possible to salvage some acreage of the maize crop.

Erratic rains have been reported in most parts of Nakuru county raising concerns over its food security in the next few months.

Source: Kenya News Agency