Kenyan farmers have shrugged off floods and locust threats to keep food supply steady in the nation, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Kenya is currently experiencing heavy rains that have caused at least 194 deaths, displaced thousands and destroyed property in particular in western region, Rift Valley and at the Coast, according to Devolution minister Eugene Wamalwa.
But even as they cause destruction, the rains have brought good fortunes in other parts of the country, enabling crops to flourish. The result is that farmers, who planted short-cycle crops like vegetables, onions, tomatoes and some fruits like melons as soon as the rains started in March, are currently harvesting, thus sustaining supplies in markets at a critical time.
From western Kenya to the capital Nairobi and the coast, supply of food has been considered adequate, enabling commodities to be affordable. At Wakulima market in Nairobi, a spot check on Friday indicated that commodities like grains, tomatoes, onions, capsicum, vegetables and fruits are in plenty.
The market is the source of food consumed in Nairobi, with traders across the capital flocking it for commodities to resale in residential areas. “Food is in great supply. We have no shortage currently, we only need more customers,” said a trader at the market. Prices have risen marginally, she acknowledged, adding they are still within affordable margins.
Despite a cessation of movement into Nairobi, the government considers food producers and traders as essential service providers, which has kept the supply chains open.
However, as farmers in the east African nation enhance food supply, the threat of locust invasion still hangs over the east African nation. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) notes in its latest locust watch update that hopper bands have been reported in the northern parts of Kenya but hatching is yet to occur.