Farmers urged to prepare for short rains

The Meteorological Department has advised farmers in Narok County and the Central Rift Valley to plant early maturing crops this coming shot rains to improve food security in the region.

Speaking to KNA on Friday, the County Director of Meteorology, Peter Runanu said some parts of the counties of Central Rift such as Narok and Kericho would receive near normal rains in the short rains season which normally runs from October to December, while others would receive below normal rains, thus affecting crop and animal production.

These low rains can only sustain early maturing crop such as legumes, potatoes and pasture, he said.

The short rains is an important season in Kenya and more so in the Central Highlands and Southern lowland areas where more food was grown in the country during the season to supplement the long rains which sets in some parts of the country from the months of February to April.

Runanu said Narok and the entire Central Rift Counties were likely to have an onset of the rains during the second week of October and then a lull to resume during the latter part of the third week of October and cease during the third to fourth week of December.

However, Runanu advised farmers and the County Government to put measures in place that would ensure the rain water was preserved in dams, pans and other storage facilities to be used in dry season for minor irrigation, water animals and for domestic use.

He advised farmers in the County and the Central Rift to search and make use of information on the weather in a bid to maximize on their production.

Runanu said the weather has become erratic and such information was important for the farmers in planning when and what crops to plant, including when to plant and to store fodder for livestock to avoid losses such as those experienced when rains failed after farmers have planted.

The planning can also be helpful in averting weather-relate disasters, he said.

Runanu said the information was available in their offices which were located in each County and Agriculture and Livestock offices in the County.

Proper planning will help in making maximum use of the rains or putting mitigation measures in the parts of the counties or regions that will receive below average rain that will also be poorly distributed both in time and space and which cannot sustain livestock or crops, he said.

The County Director denied allegations that their forecasts had sometimes misled farmers, saying theirs was a scientific research that gave more than 70 per cent of accuracy.

Source: Kenya News Agency