• This represents a 15.3 per cent decline in maize production as compared to the year 2021, which stood at about 43 million bags, the analysis reveals.
• Imala said the dismal performance in maize production has been exacerbated by crop failure, insufficient rainfall, pest infestation and the effects of climate change.
Maize production in some counties will decline by 15.3 per cent this year, a new study has shown.
Between May and June, the Directorate of Resource Surveys and Remote Sensing carried out a crop forecast survey in 27 counties of Western, South Rift and Central Kenya.
In total, the counties cover 126,667km2, which represent about 21.7 per cent of the total area in Kenya.
“The results predict a low yield of maize in these counties and calls for contingent measures to be put in place by the national government to avert severe food shortage,” Vincent Imala from DRSRS said last week.
Imala made the presentation during the international conference on earth observation technologies at the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development in Nairobi.
The conference, which took place from September 6 to 8, was under the theme 'Earth observation services for resilient social systems.'
During the conference, Imala made the presentation on crop yield estimation using remote sensing technology for food security assessment and monitoring in Kenya.
He said the dismal performance in maize production has been exacerbated by crop failure, insufficient rainfall, pest infestation and the effects of climate change.
“This year the 27 counties are projected to produce 36,438,500 bags of maize weighing 90kg each, as per the analysis done by DRSRS using Remote Sensing technology,” Imala said.
This represents a 15.3 per cent decline in maize production as compared to the year 2021, which stood at about 43 million bags, the analysis reveals.
DRSRS is currently domiciled at the Office of the President. It was established in 1975 as a response to answering environmental concerns raised in the 1972 Stockholm Conference, which created the United Nations Environmental Programme.
It offers services in applied remote sensing and geospatial technology for the assessment, mapping and monitoring of natural resources and the environment for sustainable development.
The mandate of DRSRS is to collect, store, analyse, update and disseminate geospatial data and information on natural resources and the environment, to facilitate informed decision-making at respective levels of government.
DRSRS has since 1984’s been using remote sensing technology to estimate maize production in the high potential areas of Kenya.
DRSRS also publishes annual technical reports that can be utilised by government institutions and academia for research.
The study showed that Kakamega, Vihiga, Uasin Gishu, Bungoma, Busia and Nandi will produce 12,004,077 bags (90kgs) in 2022.
Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay and Migori will produce 2,927,507 bags (90kgs) while West Pokot, Trans Nzoia, Elgeyo Marakwet and Baringo will produce 10,212,157 bags (90kgs).
Nakuru, Narok, Nyandarua and Laikipia will produce 5,842,063 bags (90kgs) while Kericho, Nyamira, Kisii and Bomet will produce 3,806,890 bags (90kgs).
Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Meru, Murang’a and Kiambu will produce 1,645,805 bags (90Kgs).
This brings the total (90kg bags) set to be produced to 36,438,500.
In Kenya, maize is the main staple food averaging more than 80 per cent of total cereals (rice, wheat, millet and sorghum) used at the household level.
Usually, about two million people in Kenya require food relief annually.
In the event of an adverse and prolonged drought, an average four million people require food assistance.
Already, more than four million Kenyans are in dire need of food relief.
The figure is expected to hit 4.35 million Kenyans by the end of the year.
Approximately 3.5 million livestock have been lost in affected counties due to the ongoing drought.
The National Drought Management Authority said the situation is worsening faster than was earlier projected.
In their estimation, the drought situation has deteriorated in 20 of the 23 ASAL counties.
These are Isiolo, Mandera, Samburu, Turkana, Wajir, Laikipia, Marsabit, Embu, Garissa, Kajiado, Kitui, Makueni, Meru, Narok, Nyeri, Tharaka Nithi, Taita Taveta, Tana River, Kwale and Kilifi counties.
NDMA attributed the situation to the poor performance of the 2021 long rains, coupled with the previous three failed consecutive seasons.
(Edited by Bilha Makokha)