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#Ugali : Ugali plate could disappear on the Kenyans tables next year if proper measures are not taken. - meteorologists and researchers warned.

Ugali, Omena and Sukuma plate. PHOTO | FILE
Ugali, Omena and Sukuma plate. PHOTO | FILE

Kenyans should prepare for another dry spell next year as the meteorological department predict the climate condition for next year will not be favorable.  The maize subsidy is expected to end by mid-November and the prices of the basic commodity, Unga will be expected to go up.

Kenyans should hearten and be prepared for a tough 2018 in which households are likely to have less of their favorite meal - ugali. According to a study by Tegemeo Institute, an agricultural policy think-tank affiliated to Egerton University, production of maize for ugali, is projected to decline by up to 20 percent.

This follows late onset, depressed and erratic patterns of the March-April-May long rains in the country’s food basket counties of Narok, Nakuru, Trans Nzoia and Uasin Gishu. The prolonged drought that dragged into June as well as the spillover effects of an attack by fall armyworms, which devastated large tracts of maize plantations in the country, is also tipped to aggravate the food security situation in the country.

The pest invaded about 800,000 acres under the crop, thanks to a rapid response from authorities. Drought and the fall pest’s menace also saw acreage dedicated to maize reduce from 1.8 million acres to 1.5 million. The reduction was also due to the conversion of some of the crops to silage.

“We will get lower production, lower than even last year’s,” said Kevin Onyango, a research analyst at Tegemeo Institute during the launch of the Food Situation Assessment and Prospects Report in Nairobi on Thursday. Last year, close to four million Kenyans faced starvation following a dry spell that affected harvests of crops and saw livestock die for lack of water and pasture.

The elected leaders have been urged to start small irrigation projects to their respective areas to evade the upcoming calamity. This comes after the country faced with political heat that led to the drop in economic growth.

" We urge the leader to drill boreholes in the drought-prone areas in order to help people do small irrigation activities. The country does not have enough food to secure all its citizens for next year. People must also learn how to choose brands that survive drought. Root tubers should be the first thought. " said a Tegemeo researcher.


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