Kenya losing Sh14bn yearly to drought - Daily Nation

Kenya losing Sh14bn yearly to drought

Tuesday March 31 2015

National Cereals and Produce Board operations manager Ernest Ogwara (right) and Kenya Meteorological Services specialist Bernard Chanzu, during the launch of the World Bank report on increasing agricultural production and resilience through improved meteorological services in Nairobi on March 31, 2015. PHOTO | JENNIFER MUIRURI

National Cereals and Produce Board operations manager Ernest Ogwara (right) and Kenya Meteorological Services specialist Bernard Chanzu, during the launch of the World Bank report on increasing agricultural production and resilience through improved meteorological services in Nairobi on March 31, 2015. PHOTO | JENNIFER MUIRURI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By LILIAN OCHIENG
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Kenya is losing Sh14 billion every year to drought, with the World Bank warning that more needs to be done to stem the trend.

The bank’s Agricultural Meteorology Report released on Tuesday states that the country lost 2.4 per cent of its GDP to adverse weather last year, adding that the situation could get worse.

“The government should transform agricultural sector through innovative, competitive and commercially oriented initiatives in order to remove extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity,” the World Bank country director, Ms Diarittou Gaye, said.

The bank’s senior natural resources management specialist, Dr Ademola Braimoh, said tackling drought would see the country save a lot of resources.

“Investing in agro meteorology and other climate response services could increase GDP capacity by up to 10 per cent,” he said yesterday while releasing the report.

The study says the government spends about Sh46 billion in agriculture per year an amount that can be recovered through inputting technology in weather and climate data.

Further, the report adds, 2008-2011 drought cost the country over Sh1 trillion, an amount that is yet to be recovered.

This placed Kenya at position 13 out of 233 countries leading in risks associated with lack of rain according to the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation.

PARTICULARLY VULNERABLE

At the event, a Kenya Meteorological Services specialist, Mr Bernard Chanzu, said the country’s agricultural sector was particularly vulnerable to erratic weather.

“Kenya will need to urgently heighten its efforts to lessen the impacts of climate change,” he said.

The World Bank, through its agroweather tools for climate-smart agriculture project, is trying to strengthen the Ministry of Agriculture to prepare and implement priority measures to provide for smart production.

The system enables growers to get advisories through SMS, interactive voice response system, community radio and agroweather bulletins and has already been deployed in Nakuru, Kitale and Machakos.