The long rains are finally here with us. Yes many parts of Kenya are indeed wet. infact last week there were flash floods in certain parts of the country as a result of the heavy rains.
It is good news all over, even farmers who were holding onto their maize stocks are now selling in preparation for the new planting season.
Kenya like many African countries is dependent on rain fed agriculture meaning that the onset of the long rains is a relief for the country's break baskets and strategic grain reserves.
Last year, the poor performance of maize, (the staple food) left a shortage of 10 million bags. The poor performance was evidence in other traditional sources like Tanzania and Malawi which we trade with to supplement our deficits.
It is this background that has got me thinking, the rainfall we had last year was part of the attributes for the poor maize production, how do we make this planting season different.
While there are many rain harvesting techniques employed on small scale mainly by non governmental organizations in arid and semiarid parts of the country many farmers have left their produce at the mercies of the gods, so to speak.
If it rains, the food production will be enough for subsistence use and sale, if the rains are below average we suffer food shortage.
The long and short of it is that with the increasing threat of climate change we need to think away from rainfed agriculture.
What technologies whether simple or complex can be employed to ensure that farmer productivity is not grossly affected.
Should we dig more boreholes or use rooftop water harvesting systems? Is it possible to dig dip trenches along the farm borders to trap rain water?
I am not an expert in this neither am I in a capacity to recommend technologies. What I do know for certain is if we do not find and implement technologies on larger scales that work for farmers then we risk being caught in the endless cycle of drought and famine.