Farmers seek solutions amid climate change crisis

By XIE SONGXIN and EDITH MUTETHYA in Makueni, Kenya | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2023-11-07 07:22
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Farmers show drought-resistant grain they harvested at Kasioni village in September. XIE SONGXIN/CHINA DAILY

Training praised

China Daily reporters who visited the group were served food prepared from pearl millet and sorghum.

Agnes Nzomo, the group's chairwoman, said, "We are grateful that through our training we have learned to mitigate climate change and eradicate poverty, as well as add value to crops by learning different ways to prepare them."

She said plans are underway to plant Melia volkensii — deciduous drought-tolerant trees that produce high-quality timber resistant to termites. These trees, as well as grass, will be planted on farms for commercial purposes. Returns will be used to improve the group or for use in other projects.

Farmers in Makindu said they hoped the October-December rainy season would be successful.

The Kenya Meteorological Department said in its seasonal forecast that the entire country is likely to experience increased rainfall, with a higher chance of rain in eastern areas during this period.

The increased rainfall will be driven by warmer than average sea surface temperatures over the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, indicating the presence of El Nino conditions, the department said.

When China Daily visited Makindu four weeks later on Oct 23, the area had not received any rainfall, despite rain falling in most parts of the country, including some areas neighboring Makindu.

Rain finally started falling on Friday. "Though it was delayed, we are optimistic that the season will be successful," Phoebe Mwangangi said in a phone call on Saturday.

She and several other farmers have already dug Zai pits and rip lines on their farms and are now planting seeds.

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