Commodities

Erratic rain threatens North Rift maize crop

Farmer

Farmers weed a maize farm in Bondeni, Uasin Gishu County, on May 24, 2021. PHOTO | NMG

Farmers in the North Rift are staring at a possible loss of their maize crop following depressed rains that are delaying application of Calcium Ammonia Nutrients (CAN) fertiliser.

Most parts of Trans-Nzoia and Uasin Gishu Counties have gone without rains for close to a month, a situation that will have a negative impact on the country’s main crop should the dry spell persists.

“The crops have started to feel the impact of the dry spell, the CAN that we applied when it rained once the other week has now gone to waste as it could only have been effective with rains, as it requires water to dissolve and get absorbed by crops,” said Fredrick Muhorela, a farmer in Trans-Nzoia county.

Agriculture Principal Secretary Hamadi Boga said he was keeping in touch with the counties and the weatherman as the government monitored the situation. Prof Boga said the meteorological department had indicated that most parts of the country would receive near normal rainfall.

“We are monitoring the situation in the North Rift but so far in some parts of the country especially in South Rift, where harvest for an early crop is expected in the market soon, the rains were sufficient and we expect a good crop,” said Prof Boga.

According to Kenya Meteorological Department’s five-day forecast, moderate rainfall is expected mainly over the highlands west of the Rift Valley, the Lake Victoria Basin, the Central and South Rift Valley and along the Coastal strip.

“The rainfall is likely to occasionally spill over to a few places over the highlands east of the Rift Valley (including Nairobi County). The Northeast, Northwest and the South Eastern Lowlands are expected to be dry,” said the weatherman in the forecast.

The current crop on the farm is expected to be harvested in October with a decline in production implying that Kenya will have to import more maize next year in order to meet the local needs.