Cereals, horticulture farmers count losses after North Rift floods
Cereals and horticultural farmers in the North Rift are counting losses after several acres of the produce were submerged as floods continue to destroy property.
Wheat growers have suspended planting after machinery were rendered immobile in the farms while their maize counterparts have put on hold applying of top dressing fertiliser due to leaching of nutrients.
“Wheat production is a mechanical process but the rains have made it impossible to move in the farms,” said Wilson Kosgei, a farmer from Moiben in Uasin Gishu County.
Rift Valley produced an average of 4.5 million bags of wheat from 127,825 hectares of land under the crop last season.
This season’s production is, however, forecast to be much lower owing to the heavy rains which have interrupted the planting. Majority of farmers have substituted maize for wheat due to attractive prices. Whereas maize is going at Sh2,000 per 90 kilogramme bag, wheat is selling at Sh3,400.
Horticulture farmers cannot access markets after floods rendered most roads in the region impassable.
“Some of the crops have been submerged by floods,” said Lilian Jeptoo, a horticulture farmer from Sambalat, Marakwet East sub-county.
Several acres of tomatoes, vegetables and passion fruit have been swept by water in Uasin Gishu, Nandi, Trans-Nzoia and Elgeyo-Marakwet counties.
The weatherman has warned of heavy rainfall, which is set to compound the farmers misery.