Farmers in Kajiado have started tilling their lands in preparation for planting season as they anticipate the short rains expected to commence in October.
Speaking to KNA at his farm in Oloorsikon Sholinke ward, Ezekiel Leshan says that he has already tilled 8 acres of his land in preparation for planting, as he is hopeful that he will reap a bountiful harvest even after five failed rainfall seasons.
'The meteorological department has forecasted that we will likely receive above-average long-term rainfall for the season. This has given me hope to try and plant one more time, even if I have not harvested anything in the last five seasons, even after planting on time,' said Leshan.
He adds that though he will plant maize as usual, he intends to grow fodder as well to ensure that his cows have enough feed.
'We lost a lot of livestock to the recent drought due to lack of feed, but this time we are determined to ensure that we not only have food for our family but also for the animals, even as we pray that the rains will fall as expected,' added Leshan.
Ian Oilepu, another farmer in the Korrompoi area, says that he wasn't going to plant this season as he hasn't harvested anything from the last five seasons, but the mention of El Nino rains has sparked hopes of a bumper harvest in him.
Oilepu says that he has already tilled his 3-acre farm and bought the maize seedlings for timely planting.
Joseph Ruto, a crops officer in Kajiado, is urging farmers to buy certified seedlings from certified agrovets for planting.
'Though the weatherman has predicted that there will be El Nino, my advice to Kajiado farmers is to plant food crops first, which include short-season varieties of maize and pulses, then grow vegetables later. They should practice dry planting by the first week of October, as the first rains are expected to fall in Kajiado on the second week of October,' advised Ruto.
On her part, Kajiado County Director of Meteorological Services, Jane Nyagathiri, says that Kajiado County will receive a range of 310-620 ml of rainfall during the expected short rain season, unlike before, when it expected 200-400 ml of rainfall.
She adds that the rains will commence in the second week of October, peak in November, and continue up to the month of January, though the rains usually end in December.
Source: Kenya News Agency