New farming methods can help end famine

Edwin Rono's farm in Uasing Gishu

Workers punning passion fruit plants at Edwin Rono's farm in Uasing Gishu County. The 32-year-old farmer says he does not regret abandoning maize farming for passion fruits.

Photo credit: Rachel Kibui | Nation Media Group

There is a need for new agriculture techniques to do away with famine and droughts adversely affecting parts of the country.

Almost Sh2.1 million Kenyans are at a risk of starving due to drought in half of the country which affects their harvests. For the past decades, rainfall has been the main source of water for agriculture but we can no longer depend on it.

Kenya's agriculture sector needs to adjust itself and adapt to the current weather. Weather patterns have changed and our agriculture, too, should change to be able to fit into the new pattern.

Agriculture should be the major component of Kenyan economy because of our large arable land. The sector should account for the bigger percentage of job opportunities.

However, rain patterns have drastically changed over the years and farmers can no longer estimate when to plant. Poor rain timing has seen crops in the fields go to waste either due to long unexpected droughts or floods that wash them away.

Strengthening agribusiness in rural areas should be the talk all over the agriculture sector since lands are under used in rural areas with poor farming methods and wrong decision of crops to be planted.

There should be training programmes to help farmers to transition from traditional food production methods to modern high-value ones. We should maximise irrigation infrastructure and form agricultural associations.

There should also be artificial rivers and dams constructed to harvest floodwater for irrigation.

Water-efficient irrigation systems and upgraded processing facilities should be highly considered if famine is to be ended β€” particularly amid the high cost of living in the country.

Richard Bwile, Marsabit

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The government ought to set aside resources and devise a plan to end the drought in parts of the country, especially the northern and northeastern regions, to save human and animal lives.

Drought is normally a result of cutting down trees and lack of water sources. In Kenya, the phenomenon has become a very serious crisis. Donating foodstuffs and other basic needs to people living in the affected areas is one way of helping the affected victims but it’s a temporary relief.

There is a need for a permanent solution to drought since donations do not last forever.

One way to achieve that is by developing water sources like micro dams, ponds, pans and wells in the affected areas and setting up irrigation schemes to support planting of various crops.

Devolution was introduced to bring the government closer to the people. County governments and political leaders must use the resources at their disposal to find a permanent solution to drought to end suffering.

John Mutiso, Makueni


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