BAD TIMING

Poor harvest expected in Kitui due to late planting, says official

NDMA county coordinator Koma says only half of the farmers planted during the heavy rains season under review

In Summary

•He said half of the residents who planted crops did so too late.

•Koma on Tuesday said the heavy rains that lasted about four weeks between late November and December have subsided and such crops will not reach maturity but wither.

A farmer Rachel Mwiyendi in her farm in Kyuso district in Kitui, last Saturday.
A farmer Rachel Mwiyendi in her farm in Kyuso district in Kitui, last Saturday.
Image: Musembi Nzengu

Kitui farmers will only get a quarter of the expected yield because of poor timing of the October-December short rains.

National Drought Management Authority Kitui coordinator Francis Koma said only half of the farmers planted during the heavy rains season under review.

He said half of the residents who planted crops did so too late.

Koma on Tuesday said the heavy rains that lasted about four weeks between late November and December have subsided and such crops will not reach maturity but wither.

“Although we received exceedingly good rains in Kitui, our people are not food secure because they planted late,” he said.

Koma said most of the farmers planted when the rains were about to dissipate as its intensity unexpectedly increased.

“A quarter of Kitui farmers planted drought escaping crops at the onset of the rains that delayed until near the end of November,” the official said.

“Therefore, we are not yet out of the woods in terms of food security.”

Kitui County National Drought Management Authority coordinator Francis Koma.
Kitui County National Drought Management Authority coordinator Francis Koma.
Image: Musembi Nzengu

The Kitui county meteorological department in its weekly climate and weather forecast indicated that the October-December short rains could have ended.

The report said no rains were expected in the county from January 11-17.

County director of meteorology Daniel Mbithi said up to 66 per cent of the short rains appear to have stopped.

He advised farmers to get advice from agricultural extension officers on the way forward.

“Mornings and afternoons are expected to be generally sunny. Nights are expected to be partly cloudy or clear sky,” the forecast report said.

He said strong easterly to northerly winds with speeds exceeding 25 knots (12.9m/s) are likely to visit some parts of Kitui while maximum temperatures will range from 25⁰C to 34⁰C.

Mbithi said minimum temperatures are expected at between 19⁰C and 25⁰C.

Edited by Kiilu Damaris