By Kipilat Kaptuya
Due to low rainfall amount in the semi-arid areas of West Pokot County there will be severe drought which will negatively impact agricultural production, yielding to poor crops, livestock and fisheries in the next three months.
According to the Kenya Meteorological Services, the weather outlook for November 2022 to January 2023 indicates that the whole country will experience below-average rainfall and warmer-than-average temperatures for next three months.
West Pokot County metrological officer, Wilson Lonyang’ole cited that December will be a dry month while January and February next year will be hit by drought.
“Farmers in the region should take advantage of the little rain to plant drought resistant varieties of crops, fodder and pasture for their animals,” he added.
Lonyang’ole noted that residents should not expect much rain between now and January since water sources will dry up.
Speaking to the press, Mr Lonyang’ole warned that the drought may lead to an increase in the ongoing resource-based conflicts among the farming and pastoral communities.
“Residents should embrace water harvesting during the short rainfall seasons. This will reduce grazing land conflicts,” he said
The officer encouraged residents to devise means and ways of harvesting and storing rain water. Locals should use the rains in harvesting water from their roofs, run-offs which they will use in domestic consumption, construction of structures among other needs later when the rains disappear.
Also residents should dig water pans and construct concrete tanks to solve the problem of water shortage in future.
He added that in November there will be minimum rainfall in the Highlands areas of Mnagei, Riwo, Kapenguria, Siyoi, Upper Tapach, Weiwe and farmers will have to supplement farming with irrigation.
“Farmers should liaise with the Ministry of Agriculture so as to know the type of seeds to plant and further advised them to plant fast maturing crops and those that are drought resistant. They should know different varieties of seed plants,” said Lonyang’ole.
He urged farmers in semi-arid areas to supplement their crops with short seasoned crops using irrigation.
National Drought Management Authority [NDMA] Coordinator in the County, Mike Kimithi claimed that they have put measures in place to cushion residents from hunger pangs.
“Currently we only have 40,000 people faced with hunger in North and Central Pokot sub Counties. We have little drizzles here and there and harvesting is going on highlands,” he said.
He said that some areas like Masol and Sekerr have not fully recovered and there is no pasture.
‘We are getting support and the Government has the cash transfer program,” he said.
He noted that farmers are relying on markets where prices of crops are relatively high. Farmers should be able to store enough and shun selling everything.
“They must know that they will harvest again in November next year. Normally during harvest farmers sell a 90kg bag of maize at Ksh 3000 but right now it is Kshs 5400 which is attractive to farmers,” he said.
We are partnering with the County Commissioner and the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to discuss how to get food for the school feeding program which was suspended.