By Bob Aston
The Agricultural Sector Development Support Programme (ASDSP) in conjunction with the Kenya Meteorological department on April 2, 2015 held a farming and weather pattern prediction training at Ng’arua Maarifa Centre, Ol-Moran Ward in Laikipia West Sub County.
The training was meant to sensitize farmers on preparedness for the long rain season in reference to weather forecasting and agriculture. This will empower farmers to understand about effects of climate change and develop suitable adaptation action plans as they prepare for unexpected climatic changes during the planting seasons.
During the training Erastus Githenya, Githiga Ward Agriculture Officer urged the farmers to learn about the importance of climate change mitigation measures. He said that farmers usually ignore meteorological findings by relying on traditional beliefs like God will provide rain hence realizing low yields when harvesting.
|Githenya addressing participants|
He said that weather forecasting will help them to plan their farming activities appropriately and decide wisely on the type of crop to plant and when to plant it. He urged farmers to plant crops that require minimal rainfall like cassava, sorghum and millet.
“Most Kenyans rarely follow predicted weather forecast. We have to accept that the weather pattern keeps changing and we need to change too. We want to ensure that farmers are better informed about meteorological news,” said Mr. Githenya.
Mr. Joseph Mwati, Chairman ASDSP Project Management Team (PMT), Laikipia County took farmers through traditional ways of predicting weather patterns. He said that as much as the traditional weather prediction has been reliable farmers now need to understand and integrate modern weather forecasting information into their farming calendar.
Farmers cited traditional rainfall prediction like plants that shed their branches prior to rainfall indicates a sign of heavy downpour while weaver birds predict rainfall by their mode of nesting. Less housing indicates less rainfall while more housing indicates more rainfall.
Farmers were informed that effective adaptation to climate change is dependent on access to climate information. The farmers present agreed to disseminate the information to the groups as well as attend trainings when they are called upon.