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Kenya - Early warning system on weather required

Kenya – Early warning system on weather required

It was a bad beginning of the year for tea and potato farmers in the country who lost huge amounts of their crops to frost. The loss is estimated at several billion shillings, making this possibly the biggest climate-related crop damage in recent years. The Kenya Tea Development Agency and the weather department have attributed this to severe effects of climate change and predict that such events could get even worse in future.

It was a bad beginning of the year for tea and potato farmers in the country who lost huge amounts of their crops to frost. The loss is estimated at several billion shillings, making this possibly the biggest climate-related crop damage in recent years.


The Kenya Tea Development Agency and the weather department have attributed this to severe effects of climate change and predict that such events could get even worse in future.


But as expected, opponents of the human-driven climate change theory are already attacking the arguments that these effects are attributable to human activity.


The truth is that due to climate variability, farmers in different ecological zones have been experiencing major difficulties in the last few decades.


Such predicaments have been characterised by severe drought especially in herding areas, low production in the marginal lands of Eastern Province, and now frost in high-potential zones.


Confronted by such events, Kenya can hardly wait for the academic debate over the cause of climate change to be settled, if ever; it must speed up innovative ways to deal with weather variability.


One suggestion made by the tea sector is to have farmers, including small-holders, insure their crop against future frost attacks.


If this works, it will be the second agricultural sub-sector to be insured against climate-related disasters in recent times.


Such a scheme is being tried out among pastoralists. But this intervention may not be the only strategy to cushion farmers against future crop or animal losses.


Most important is to have an effective early warning system that advises farmers on possible disasters and how best to mitigate their effects.


Source – http://www.nation.co.ke/

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