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December 07, 2011

Floods destroy crops at Kenya irrigation scheme

More than 100 acres of crops estimated at over Sh5 million have been destroyed by floods in Kiboi Irrigation Scheme after River Yeptos in Baringo County (Kenya) burst its banks.

About 200 farmers who had crops at the scheme feared food security may be threatened as a result of the floods.

The scheme chairman, Julius Aengwo, said farmers expected a bumper harvest this season but their hopes have been dashed by the raging floods.

“Since we experienced adequate rainfall this season, we had anticipated enough food for our families and surplus for sale but for the past two weeks, the entire crop has been flooded and we have incurred huge losses,” said Mr Aengwo.

He said several acres of crops such as beans, butternuts, watermelons, maize, cassava and sweet potatoes were submerged and had began to rot.

Aengwo urged the Government to consider the farmers’ plight and provide them with seeds to start planting afresh after the heavy rains subside since they had invested all they had on the farms.

According to Baringo North district crop officer Wesley Chemjor, almost half of the crops in the irrigation scheme have been extensively damaged.

“We had projected farmers would earn about Sh10 million from maize, beans, watermelons and other fruits such as mangoes and bananas but it’s regrettable almost the entire crop was destroyed,” Mr Chemjor said.

Area District Agricultural Officer Kibett Maina reiterated that farmers at the scheme had suffered greatly as result of the floods.

He urged farmers in Kiboi and Barwessa irrigation schemes to embrace soil conservation measures to prevent more losses.

“For now, farmers should make water canals, plant trees along their farms and make use of the water divisional boxes to prevent over spilling and avert more flooding in the future,” said Mr Maina.

He said last year, the Government and the World Food Programme (WFP), had rehabilitated the irrigation scheme and anticipated to benefit more farmers and boost food security in the semi-arid area.

“The Government together with WFP had injected about Sh8 million for construction of water divisional boxes, construction of a night water storage tank and construction of canals,” said Maina.

About 100 families have been displaced in Nyatike District, Migori County. 90 victims have sought refuge at Nyora Primary School where they were taken by the Red Cross officials after their houses were submerged after River Kuja burst its banks.

In 2 East Africa

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