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Kenyan farmers suffer consequences of unpredictable rains

Some crops in Kenya have been washed away, while others have been submerged by floods as harvest rots on farms in some parts of the east African nation following heavy rains. The rains have been unpredictable and unusually heavy and the Kenyan farmers are feeling every pinch of it.

When the short rain season started early October, most farmers rushed to plant maize, beans, tomatoes and vegetables, among other crops. As has been in the past, the rains were expected to be heavy in October and reduce in intensity as time goes by to allow crops to flourish. But the opposite is happening as the east African nation grapples with the effects of climate change.

From central to western, coastal and the usually dry North, farmers are counting losses as rains pound the regions. The Kenya Meteorological Department has predicted that the intensity of the rains would continue in December, with some areas expected to receive as high as 50mm of downpour in a day.

In Kajiado, south of Nairobi, tomato and onion farmers are watching as their produce rot on farms due to impassable roads. The area, in particular Loitoktok on the border of Kenya and Tanzania, is one of the largest producers of the two crops, with the harvest mainly sold in the capital Nairobi.

But the heavy rains coupled with poor roads are making farmers pay a heavy price. Greenhouse farmers have not been spared either as some of their structures have been destroyed by the rains.

At least 60 people have been killed due to the floods and mudslides and properties worth millions of shillings destroyed, according to the National Disaster Management Authority. More than 18,000 have been displaced across Kenya, said the agency.


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