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Kenya’s worst floods in 30 years wreak havoc for farmers causing food price hikes

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Kenya’s worst floods in thirty years have killed thousands of livestock, destroyed acres of cropland leaving the country at risk of imminent food shortage and food price hikes.

According to a flood operations update by the Kenya Red Cross, the ongoing heavy rains, flash floods, and landslides have destroyed an estimated 32,000 acres of cropland and caused over 7,600 livestock deaths. 

61 roads which are crucial for transporting fresh produce to markets have also been washed off or rendered impassable. This has cut off communities from food supplies and forced prices for what little supplies remain to spike.

According to the development charity Practical Aid, farms in western Kenya have been flooded, and agricultural supply chains hugely disrupted as a result of damaged and impassable roads. In Turkana County, flooding has caused crop damage to crops, irrigation, and water supply pipes.

In Nairobi’s major markets, everyday commodities have all risen. A spot check of the city’s major market Wakulima, indicates that the price of one kilogram of kale has gone up from Sh 45 in early April to Sh85. The price of a tomato has doubled to Sh10 from its price of five shillings in early April while a kilogram of onions has shot up by 30 shillings to Sh 200 per kilogram.

James Tito is among the horticulture farmers who hoped his greenhouse-grown tomatoes would be on consumers’ food racks. Based in Mai Mahiu, Nakuru County, has lost Sh1.1 million in investments he’d made in setting up five greenhouses and well over one million shillings in potential earnings due to the flash floods that hit the county this month. “We will look to rebuild– this time at least away from any defined river channels,” he said.

So far, Kisumu, Nairobi, Garissa, and Tana River counties have been the most affected, containing approximately 55 percent of the flood-affected households.

According to Action Against Hunger, in Mandera County– a marginal area of Kenya that already suffers from food insecurity, over 9,400 farmers have been affected by floods.

Water systems in Mandera County have been severely damaged: 48 water reservoirs have overflowed and 1,617 wells have been completely submerged.

Read more:

Farmers target flood resistant crops for quick cash

Heavy rains push-up fungi infections in farms 

Increased rainfall could lead to onion & tomato panic sales

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