Less rain this season
Two weeks after the start of long rains season, which had delayed for about a month, Kenya is experiencing reduction in rainfall amount in most parts of the country.
The situation has sent fears among farmers, who had rushed to plant, that their crops may not perform well. Kenya Meteorological Department noted in a weather forecast report that rainfall is expected to reduce further in the coming days in most parts of the East African nation.
"A reduction in rainfall activities occurred in Western areas, Central highlands and Nairobi area as well as the South-eastern lowlands.
Dry conditions were sustained over the North-eastern and North-western parts of the country," Peter Ambenje, of Kenya Meteorological Department, said in an April 10 to April 13 weather outlook report.
According to the institution, most parts of Kenya in the days when the long rains season started received moderate to heavy rainfall of between 20mm and 50mm.
But the rains in the last week have gone against farmers expectations and uncharacteristic of the East African nation's long rains seasons, which usher in the planting season, where most areas record over 50mm rainfall in 24 hours.
"The highest four-day rainfall total of 57mm occurred at Shigharo in South-eastern lowlands. This was followed by Msabaha, Butere, Kericho, Malindi, Tuthu, Mtwapa and Kakamega with 55.7mm, 45.5mm, 40.2mm, 38.0mm, 32.2mm, 23.1mm and 20.5mm respectively.
The rest of the stations had four day rainfall totals below 20mm or no rainfall at all," said Ambenje.
Share This Story
And as the rains reduce in intensity, temperatures have remained lower during the day but higher at night. "During the period under review, day-time (maximum) temperatures were generally lower over most parts of the country except the northern areas.
Night time (minimum) temperatures were, on the other hand, higher except again over the northern parts and the coastal strip," said the weather man.
The highest daily maximum temperature, 39.2°C, was recorded in Mandera, a town in Northern Kenya, a region often ravaged by hunger, and the lowest was recorded in Nyahururu at 8.6°C.
The meteorological department expects that there will be a further reduction in rainfall in most areas but the rains will pick up again in the coming weeks especially in Western Kenya, which interestingly is the East African nation's bread basket.
"It is also expected that in the coming days, winds at the surface flow will be characterised by weak south-easterly over the whole country.
Upper level winds are expected to change from moderate westerlies to south-easterly. South-easterly flow will dominate the mid-levels over the south eastern regions including the coastal strip," noted Ambenje.
Kenya's Ministry of Agriculture observes that one of the challenges the sector is currently facing are effects of climate change, which have resulted to erratic weather patterns.
"Climate change includes global warming, rise of sea level and an increase in the frequency of extreme and unpredictable weather changes.
This can cause serious challenges to sustainable agricultural activities.
Climate change is expected to severely compromise agricultural sector activities and performance," says the ministry in a recent report on agriculture and rural development.
To mitigate the effects of changing weather patterns in agriculture, the ministry is promoting growth of traditional high value drought resistant crops.
The ministry has also noted that this year's rains may not support farming activities as expected. Consequently, it has advised farmers to plant drought tolerant crops.
"With the delayed onset of long rains, farmers are advised to plant certified seeds of drought tolerant crops that include early maturing varieties of maize, sorghum, green grams, beans, vegetables, pigeon peas, cassava, sweet potatoes and millet," said Permanent Secretary Romano Kiome.
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.