Drought; prepare for the worst

Yellow maize meal is coming and probably worse

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By GICHENGI M’MWENDA 

April 16,2019, Nairobi. 1984, perhaps, remains as the worst year in living memory when this country experienced widespread drought which resulted in unprecedented levels of food shortages, water shortages, people and animal deaths and high levels of destitution and poverty in the rural areas.

The anticipated failed rains means that the farmers in both the high potential and marginal areas will not get any food at farm level between the months of June 2019 and February 2020 (hoping the “short rains” of October-December will come in time) thereby exacerbating an already precarious situation brought about by mishandling of fertilizer importation, distribution and maize harvests in Trans-Nzoia and Uasin Gishu by the government in the past year.

What we are about to witness is probably a repeat of the 1984 experience, if not worse, because of the present rural poverty levels as a result of collapse of agricultural cooperative societies which were vibrant then and served to cushion many rural farmers and probably now that we have a regime that has nearly bankrupted the country through corruption and excessive debt.

To put this in perspective, we should expect no maize, rice, wheat, pulses etc. harvests this year. Both people and animals (livestock and wildlife) will suffer water shortages, forage and grazing pasture will dwindle and the final effect will be unquantifiable deaths and also reduced tourist receipts in the game parks and lodges. Prepare for the worst, yellow maize meal is coming and probably worse.

This government doesn’t plan it thrives on corruption and mismanagement1984, perhaps, remains as the worst year in living memory when this country experienced widespread drought which resulted in unprecedented levels of food shortages, water shortages, people and animal deaths and high levels of destitution and poverty in the rural areas.

The anticipated failed rains means that the farmers in both the high potential and marginal areas will not get any food at farm level between the months of June 2019 and February 2020 (hoping the “short rains” of October-December will come in time) thereby exacerbating an already precarious situation brought about by mishandling of fertilizer importation, distribution and maize harvests in Trans-Nzoia and Uasin Gishu by the government in the past year.

What we are about to witness is probably a repeat of the 1984 experience, if not worse, because of the present rural poverty levels as a result of collapse of agricultural cooperative societies which were vibrant then and served to cushion many rural farmers and probably now that we have a regime that has nearly bankrupted the country through corruption and excessive debt.

To put this in perspective, we should expect no maize, rice, wheat, pulses etc. harvests this year. Both people and animals (livestock and wildlife) will suffer water shortages, forage and grazing pasture will dwindle and the final effect will be unquantifiable deaths and also reduced tourist receipts in the game parks and lodges. Prepare for the worst, yellow maize meal is coming and probably worse. This government doesn’t plan it thrives on corruption and mismanagement. Sad.

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