Climate-smart Kenyan farmers are reaping rewards as food prices are surging

Farmers in Kenya who have embraced climate-smart practices are cashing in big time as east African food prices are on the rise amid a dry spell. With the rains having failed in October to December 2018 and between March and May, Kenya's food production has been on the decline forcing the nation to rely on imports from Uganda and Tanzania.

The country has been importing tons of potatoes, tomatoes, onions, rice, dry maize and wheat, among other produce from their neighbors every day. Supplies from the countries seem to be declining though, with food prices that had stabilized for months sustaining an upward trend since June.

A 50kg sack of potatoes is currently retailing at 4,500 shillings (45 U.S. dollars), up from half the price in April. A kilo of tomatoes, on the other hand, is going for 1 dollar, which is twice the cost of the commodity fee months ago.

The surging food prices contributed to rise in inflation in July to 6.27 percent, from 5.70 percent in June, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS). Most of the prices of food commodities have taken an upward trend, observed the statistics agency.

However, amid the surge in food prices and the persistent dry spell, are farmers who are reaping big having embraced climate-smart practices. These practices include harvesting rainwater and storing in farm ponds, water pans or shallow wells and growing of drought-resistant crop varieties. One then uses the water from the pans to irrigate crops all-the-year-round.

The east African nation launched its climate smart agriculture strategy in 2017 to guide investments and activities to guarantee productivity and food security, while mitigating climate change. The strategy spearheaded by Ministry of Agriculture runs from 2017 to 2026.


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