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March to May rainfall: Agricultural areas to get above normal rain

A map of Kenya showing amounts of rainfall during March-April-May 2021 season.
Kenya Meteorological Department says agricultural counties could get above normal rainfall. The drawing is by Kenya Meteorological Department.

March to May is the major rainfall season over most of Kenya and much of equatorial Eastern Africa. The March-April-May season is also known as long rains. Kenya Meteorological Department studied sea surface temperature anomalies over Pacific, Indian and Atlantic oceans to make the rainfall forecast. The department says agricultural counties could get above normal rainfall.

The department expects 21 agricultural counties of Lake Victoria basin and Rift Valley to have above normal rainfall. They are Siaya, Kisumu, Homa Bay, Migori, Kisii, Nyamira, Trans Nzoia, Baringo, Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo Marakwet, Nandi and West Pokot. Others are Laikipia, Nakuru, Narok, Kericho, Bomet, Kakamega, Vihiga, Bungoma and Busia.

The department expects rainfall in the counties to start between second and third week of March. The rainfall would continue until June in other counties but it would end in May in Narok, Bomet and Kericho.

Nairobi, Nyandarua, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Murang’a, Kiambu, Embu, eastern parts of Meru and Tharaka Nithi could receive near normal to above normal rainfall. The department expects western parts of Meru and Tharaka Nithi to get near normal rainfall.

Rainfall in these counties could start on third or fourth week of March. It will go on until third or fourth week of May.

Rainfall in other counties

Turkana and western parts of Samburu could receive above normal rainfall. Eastern parts of Samburu would get near average rainfall.

Rainfall would begin in fourth week of March or first week of April. It will rain until third week of May.

Western parts of Marsabit and Isiolo counties are likely to receive near normal rainfall. But eastern parts of Marsabit and Isiolo, Garissa and Mandera could get below average rainfall for the season.

Rainfall could start in fourth week of March or first week of April. The rainfall would end in third or fourth week of May.

Kajiado, Kitui, southern Makueni, Machakos and Taita Taveta could receive near normal to below normal rainfall. But, Kajiado, northern parts of Makueni, south-western parts of Taita Taveta county bordering Mt Kilimanjaro are likely to receive above normal rainfall.

Rainfall would start in third or fourth week of March. It would stop in second or third week of May.

Mombasa, parts of Tana River, Kilifi, Lamu and Kwale counties are likely to receive near normal to below normal rainfall. Parts of Tana River county bordering Garissa county could receive below normal rainfall.

It will start raining in fourth week of March or first week of April. Rainfall will stop in June.

What expected rainfall mean to agriculture

Kenya Meteorological Department advises farmers in areas expected to receive above normal rainfall to maximise their crop harvest.

The department told farmers to look for Agriculture ministry’s advice on appropriate seeds and what time to plant.

In addition, the department advises farmers in areas that would receive below normal rain to plant drought resistant crops.

“To ensure food security, farmers are advised to plant early maturing and drought resistant crops in marginal areas,” the department said.

“The ministry of Interior and Co-ordination of National Government and humanitarian institutions are therefore advised to put in place measures to avert food shortage in these areas.”

Some of arid and semi-arid areas would get below normal rainfall.

The department said this would lead to shortage of water and pasture in pastoral areas of north-eastern, north-western and south-eastern Kenya.

It advises livestock keepers in areas that would receive below normal rainfall to get alternative animal feed or cut their stock.

About Kaburu Mugambi

Kaburu Mugambi is a veteran of business reporting having worked with two national newspapers in Kenya. He is a graduate of economics from Kenyatta University. He started his journalism career in 2000 with The People Daily as a business reporter before becoming a business sub-editor. He joined Daily Nation in 2004 as a business writer. He holds a post-graduate diploma in mass communication from University of Nairobi's School of Journalism and an MBA in marketing from the same university. In 2016, he founded Water Tower, a media firm focused on water, energy and climate. Its content cuts across water, energy and climate with emphasis on adaptation and sustainability.

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