Coronavirus Fears Cast Shadow over Food Security
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to cause chaos on the economy and existences, grain farmers in the North Rift region are in a catch-22 state. The skies have unlocked but none taunt scheme out to plant. Fears of contagion and limits on movement have laid a severe shortage of labour, seeds and fertilizer.
The country has now stated at least 25 established cases. This is compounded by the fresh attack of locusts with doubts widespread over the unwarranted state of the country’s food security.
Several farmers have spoken fears that the planting season will spread to April and May. Seed producers - including the Kenya Seed Company - have postponed operations.
“Due to the (coronavirus outbreak), we are momentarily closing our doors ... to indorse self-quarantine,” Simlaw Seeds, a subsidiary of Kenya Seed Company, said in a notice in its Eldoret outlet.
And the fears are not groundless. A 25kg bag of maize seeds is now going for Sh4,800 up from Sh4,500.
Farmers questioned by the Nation said they are powerless to buy farm inputs as the planting exercise begins.
The farmers are now imploring the government to put in place measures to ensure that food production continues.
The government have also been counseled to control the spread of the locusts in the country so as to stop food scarcities in the country.