NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
A majority of Kenyan farmers cannot wait for 2018
to end as the year shapes out to be one of the toughest, thanks
to erratic weather.
The weather in the
East African nation has been unpredictable this year unlike in
the past, with experts warning that farmers should brace more
volatility in future.
After a biting dry
spell at the start of the year, the East African nation’s
farmers had to grapple with excessive rains from March to May.
A biting cold
weather then set in soon after and still persists across the
East African nation, yet it was predicted that it would end last
The drastic change
in weather pattern has meant that farmers have to grapple with
more diseases and pests, high costs of production and declined
Both livestock and
crop farmers have been affected by the unpredictable weather,
but the latter have been hit harder. For livestock, the worst
hit are poultry and pig farmers and growers of fodder grass for
baling into hay.
across the country have seen production of eggs go down due to
the cold weather.
“The cold weather
causes stress to birds making them cut laying eggs. Production
from my 300 layers dropped by a third and had started to rise
when the cold weather disappeared for a week but it’s now back,”
Antony Mutua, a poultry farmer in Ruai on the outskirts of
Nairobi, said Wednesday.
The farmer has also
had to grapple with cold weather diseases that include
coccidiosis, increasing his cost of production.
“Certainly I cannot
wait for this year to end. If the weather will remain like this,
then farming would be a loss making venture,” he noted.
A number of pig
farmers in Kenya are currently counting losses as the African
Swine Fever wipes out the animals.
The disease, which
has no cure, has been blamed on recent rains that spread the
virus from one farm to another through surface runoff. Some
farmers have lost up to 300 pigs in two weeks.
“I planted my fodder
grass in March and could not harvest for baling because of the
cold weather and heavy rains,” said farmer Moses Njeru from
Nakuru, North West of the capital.
The Boma Rhodes
grass over matured on the farm, and thus could not dry on time
reducing its quality.
“I harvested last
month, baled it but I am selling at low price because farmers
can tell that it over-matured,” he said.
Growers of tomatoes,
potatoes, strawberry, maize, onions and coffee have had one of
the worst seasons this year.
Tomato and potato
farmers who grow the crops in the field have had to battle
blight for the better part of this year, thanks to the cold
“So far this has
been a bad year. I have never sprayed my crop against blight for
a long time like I did this year. I started in March and to date
I am still doing it,” said Leonard Mukirai, who grows the crop
in Kajiado County under irrigation.
Farmers in central
Kenya are still grappling with blight, which has threatened the
cash crop that is exported to markets in Europe, Asia and the
Caroline Wandia, an
agronomist in Nyeri, attributed the bacterial blight in coffee
to cool, wet weather.
appear on leaves with water soaked margins when the infection
begins. The leaves eventually dry up and roll inwards as they
turn brown. This year has been tough because of heavy rains and
cold weather,” she said.
But even as farmers
battle diseases and pests, prices of produce have remained low,
translating to losses since most producers cannot recoup their
have blamed the unpredictable weather to adverse effects of
climate change, which are also affecting other parts of the
“The Kenyan farmer
should brace for tougher times because the weather has become
extremely erratic. If it is not excess or depressed rains, the
farmer has to fight the cold weather. Globally, this is also the
case and it has been blamed on climate change,” said Bernard
Moina, an agricultural officer in western Kenya.