Tighten Your Belt For Tougher Times, Warns WeatherMan

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The delayed onset of the long-rains season means that Kenyans will have to dig deeper into their pockets n order to eat, the weatherman says.

Kenyans should be prepared to buy an ordinary bunch of ‘Sukuma Wiki‘ at sh50 as opposed to the normal sh10 – sh12. This price has already been effected in some areas.

Agriculture, which is the biggest contributor to Kenya’s economy, relies heavily on favourable weather to boost yields.

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Kenya’s meteorological department has projected late arrival and poor distribution of the March-April-May long rains, which is the country’s main planting season.

This is expected to hurt food production and livestock feeds, further squeezing household budgets of the poor and middle class amid stagnant wages.

The Treasury is also set to feel the heat through having to set aside funds for food relief and possible subsidies to cushion the most vulnerable.

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More than one million Kenyans in drought-hit areas are already relying on food aid for survival.

The Food Security and Nutrition Working Group (FSNWG), a food security and nutrition platform championed by UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), and IGAD’s Climate Prediction and Application Centre (ICPAC), yesterday listed Kenya among countries staring at a major food crisis this year.

“The delay in the start of the March to June long rains, coupled with forecasted rainfall deficits in April, are building on already dry conditions due to poor October to December rains over some parts of the Greater Horn of Africa,” the firm said in a statement.

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Kenya’s food basket areas such as highlands West of the Rift Valley, Central and South Rift Valley as well as the Central Highlands and the Lake Victoria Basin are yet to start receiving sufficient rainfall for planting.

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