Farmers incur huge losses in climate change scourge

Tuesday, May 10th, 2022 00:25 | By
Thousands of goats and sheep killed by flash floods in Marsabit in January. The has suffered severe effects of climate change. PHOTO/Courtesy
Thousands of goats and sheep killed by flash floods in Marsabit in January. The has suffered severe effects of climate change. PHOTO/Courtesy

Hundreds of farmers in Northern Kenya are battling the adverse effects of climate change.

Consequently, they have reported massive losses running into millions of shillings. At a recent press forum, Northern Climate Resilience indicated that most pastoralists were struggling to cope with unpredictable weather patterns linked to destructive occurrences like flash floods and severe droughts.

Northern Climate Resilience is a non-governmental organisation that brings together local livestock farmers.

 The organisation reported that over 100,000 goats and sheep were killed by flash floods in Marsabit in January.

The floods were reported amidst a raging drought in the county.

“In Kenya, poor rains have slashed harvests by as much as 70 per cent below normal levels, leading to skyrocketing food prices. On January 17, nearly twice the daily amount classified as ‘severe’ rain fell in Marsabit, killing upwards of 100,000 goats and sheep,” the lobby group says.

Farmers said they had been subjected to untold misery, which they have to persevere, as the government has not put in place any mitigation mechanisms for climate change effects.

“Our identity as pastoralists is our livestock. If they are killed by extreme weather or rain, suddenly, we become climate refugees,” Tumal Orto, a pastoralist said. 

Orto was speaking during a virtual ‘Peasant and Indigenous Press Forum’ organised by A Growing Culture, an NGO  working to unite the food sovereignty movement.

 Through storytelling, AGC confronts the root causes of injustice in the world’s food system, helping to bring to the fore communities that would otherwise not access media. Orto challenged the government to consider budgetary allocations to cover for losses from destruction by drought and floods.

Extreme weather

“Pastoralist communities anywhere in the world are struggling. But they are suffering for the mistakes they haven’t done. That is climate change. Our identity is our livestock, but if it is cleared by extreme weather and rain, suddenly, you become a climate refugee,” the farmer added.

Recently, the National Drought Management Authority identified Marsabit as one of the counties facing imminent drought due to delayed rainfall.

In its March 22 report, the authority warned of trouble in the region.

Last month, the private sector donated foodstuff worth Sh100 million to residents affected by a severe lack of food.

The group under ‘Pamoja Tuungane’ rallied Kenyans to support those suffering from the effects of the prolonged drought.

Safaricom PLC and M-PESA Foundation, Naivas, Mediamax, Nation Media Group, Radio Africa, Royal Media and Standard Group have pledged to work together to ensure the situation was lessened.

 “While we are still in discussions will all stakeholders about the long-term initiatives, we know all too well the importance of having some short-term actions to deal with the current situation. We are calling upon other private sector players to join us in supporting those suffering from the effects of drought because we are all aware that we cannot thrive if the community around us is in anguish,” Safaricom chief executive Peter Ndegwa said.

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