The long rains will start in the fourth week of March and farmers in the country are advised to seek recommendations from agricultural extension officers within their region before they plant their crops as the ongoing rains are set to diminish as from 6th March.
According to the Kenya Meteorological department, the rains will start at the end of March over the western sector and early April over the eastern region. The expected late onset in some agricultural areas is, however, likely to impact negatively resulting in delayed planting and germination.
In 2017, Kenya experienced its worst drought in half a century with some areas receiving 50 per cent of normal rainfall both in the long and short rain seasons. As a result, maize, the staple food crop in Kenya recorded a drop in production from the projected 40m bags to 36.9m bags and the number of people facing starvation increased from 2.6m in 2016 to 3.4m in 2017 according to statistics from the ministry of agriculture.
In 2018, depressed rainfall is expected over most parts of the country, especially the Eastern sector, during the March-May 2018 long-rains season. However, near-normal rainfall is expected over most parts of Western Kenya, central Rift Valley and parts of central Kenya including Nairobi.
Most of the eastern sector of the country is likely to remain generally dry during the month of March. Most of the seasonal rainfall is expected during the peak month of April and in May.
Women in agriculture/PHOTO/FILE
Counties in the Lake basin region and in the highlands west and central of the Rift Valley will receive rainfall as from the third and fourth week of March with the rains expected to continue to June 2018. These areas include Bungoma, Homa Bay, Kakamega, Kisii, Migori, Nyamira, Siaya, Trans Nzoia, Uasin Gishu and Nandi. The coastal strip and the northern coastal strip will also receive rains during this period.
In the southern parts of the Rift Valley such as Narok and Kajiado and the central highlands including Nairobi area, the onset of the rains will begin between the fourth week of March and the first week of April and end in the third or fourth week of May 2018.
The south eastern counties of Makueni, Machakos, Kitui and Taita Taveta will receive rains starting the fourth week of March and subside between the first and second week of May.
The north western counties of Turkana, West Pokot and Samburu will get rains as from the first week of April and this will go on up to the fourth week of May.
As for the northern and the north eastern counties of Wajir, Garissa, Mandera and Marsabit, the regions will remain generally dry in March until the first and second week of April when rains will fall and last until the third week of May.