Low rainfall forecast for Kenya

March 13, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 13 – The Kenya Meteorological Department warned on Friday that the long rains expected between this month and May are likely to be depressed.

In its seasonal forecast statement, Director Joseph Mukabana indicated that most parts of the country were likely to experience deficient rainfall, except for the Lake Victoria basin, Western highlands, North Rift Valley and the South Coast.

“The rains are expected to continue into June over Nyanza, Western and parts of Rift Valley Provinces, but will cease during the second week of May over the southern parts of Eastern Province,” he said.

The Department however said that the Western sector of the country would receive above normal rainfall and warned of flooding in perennially affected areas.

"Rainfall is expected to be depressed in the better part of the country, during the peak rainfall month of April. The areas to be most affected by this deficit will be North-eastern, Central, Nairobi and northern parts of Eastern Province," said Dr Mukabana.

While the rains are expected to start in the second or the third week of March, onset in North Eastern, Coast and northern parts of Eastern Province will be delayed by one or two weeks, he said.

The grain basket areas of the country, Eldoret and Kitale, are however set for heavy rainfall.

According the forecast, the eastern, northern and southern parts of the country will receive depressed rainfall.

The River Tana catchment and pastoral regions of the country will be affected by this prediction, which might result in reduced amounts of water in the power generating area of the Seven Forks Dam and shortage of pasture for livestock.

In a statement, the Met Department recommends that the Ministry of Agriculture encourages farmers to use the good season in Nyanza and Western provinces as well as North Rift to optimise crop yield.

“In the agriculture areas of Western Kenya where enhanced rainfall is expected, the Ministry of Agriculture is requested to encourage farmers to make use of the good season by optimising crop yield, through appropriate and timely land-use management,” he said.

Dr Mukabana also suggested that farmers make use of fast maturing and drought resistant crops.

“In areas where deficient rainfall is expected, especially lands that constitute the agriculture marginal areas as well as the agro pastoral and pastoral areas, the Ministry of Agriculture is requested to encourage farmers to make use of fast maturing and drought resistant varieties of crops,” read the statement.

Dr Mukabana advised that the Government should start de-stocking programmes in North Eastern Province and other parts of the country inhabited by pastoralists, to cushion livestock keepers from heavy losses.


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