By Checky Abuje
The National government of Kenya has swiftly moved in to save the collapsing Agricultural sector in Busia County following the devastating floods that destroyed all gains farmers had invested in running into millions of Shillings.
The announcement comes a few weeks after the floods, especially in Budalangi, flooded farms leaving farmers lost just where to begin for their recoveries. It came as a relief to many farmers in the region more so the rice farmers.
Speaking to Africa Science News reporter, the county commissioner Joseph Kanyiri reiterated the elaborate plans the national government has to bail out the sector that plays a pivotal role in ensuring food security in the country.
Apart from the more than Kshs.30B bailout package for farmers, Kanyiri also reassured County residents of infrastructure rehabilitation after social amenities like schools, Hospitals/health centres roads among others were rendered useless by the floods.
With the Agricultural sector suffering the setback, the most affected chain was Rice farming. Statistics provided by the county government of Busia indicate that more than 1500 acres under rice farming were completely destroyed with rice plants at different stages of growth. Farmers are now counting losses estimated at more than Kshs.1B.
In addition, the county government has given out to farmers early maturing seedlings for maize, traditional vegetables and fruits for the short-term initiative as they organise themselves to return into normal farming activities.
But with all these, another threat beckons the farmer in Busia county; the Fowl Army Worm threat. Already the county government has in mitigatory measures supplied chemicals across the county to sprays all maize farms affected by the pest.
Nonetheless, the worry of food insecurity in the country remains formidable now that the two factors, the floods and Covid 19 have farmer hedge in.
National indicators have revealed that 10,000+ households in western Kenya were displaced by floods, their crops and farming grounds destroyed as they were rendered inept to carry out farming activities given this is the pick season for farming in the region.
However, as much as the government has embarked on restore the agricultural sector, farmers and by extension residents in flood-prone area of Budalangi are crying for a permanent solution to floods.
“The solution to this menace of floods in Budalangi has been elusive. We welcome the bailout programme but we are not happy,” said a resident from Budalangi who did not want his name revealed.
“We want a permanent solution to this floods problem. The World Bank gave out Kshs.10B to strengthen the dykes. We do not understand where that money went, and nothing has been done on the dykes three years down the line,” continued the irate resident.
Floods in Budalangi have always been severe with lives are lost, economic activities disrupted, health situation compromised and exposing the young and the old to equal measures of infections. This justifies why residents are disillusioned and craving for a solution that is permanent.