Farmers from Nyandarua County are now encountering losses following the unexpected rains. The ongoing rains have caused the mature farm produce to rot in the farms. The rotting pose a threat to food security since it is one of the wealthiest food baskets in the country.
Mostly, the ripe maize which was ready for harvesting is currently rotting in the farms. Their most beneficial agricultural produce is Irish potatoes, followed by maize. Specifically, the area grown with maize is an estimate of 16,906 hectares with an annual production of 37,184 tonnes. Maize earns the area an income of sh1.1 billion while potatoes make sh 8.3 billion.
Relatively the potatoes grow on 37,860 hectares of land in the county.
The prolonged rains have led to massive destruction in maize which could be an alarming food crisis in the country. In December the County had 414,390 bags of maize, and the annual consumption is 765,948 bags.
The gap in the remaining bags would have been mitigated by the crops which are rotting in the farms.
In a survey carried out by the Agricultural Department, farmers were holding 413,160 bags of maize while traders had 1,230 bags. Ironically, millers had none of any maize bags in their possession during the survey.
Generally, the document indicated that the county requires 63,829 bags of maize every month each worth 90kgs. Therefore, by December Nyandarua county had a monthly deficit of maize by 29,297 bags that are required to feed their population.
In the past two years, the county recorded an improve on-farm yields which rose from 21,870 tonnes of maize in 2017 to 34,289 tonnes in 2018. Currently, the January heavy rains are a setback to the country at large.
According to a survey by the Ministry of Agriculture, the farmers shifted to diversify in maize farming after the delay in rains. The delay caused the planted potato seeds to either die or germinate poorly. Most of the affected areas by the unexpected weather patterns are; Ndaragua constituency, Ol Joro Orok, and Ol Karau where maize is the main cash crop.
One of the farmers from the area known as Duncan Wambui says it is the first time to have heavy rains extending to January. In continuation also, he said, “Normally we harvest the maize between December and late January and prepare the land for replanting in in either march or April. The destruction caused to plants by the rains is likely to affect the next planting during long rains.”