Despite the limitations of COVID-19 pandemic, Kenya's agriculture sector has performed well in the year 2020.

2020 is a good agricultural year for Kenya despite COVID-19.  

When COVID 19 was reported in Kenya on the 13th of March, the whole country was set into a mode of fear – the fear of ultimately losing life to the virus. For the remaining part of  the month of March, after the first corona case was announced, there was a shortage of almost everything in the supermarkets as people went into panic shopping. I felt really scared when I went to a nearby supermarket and I was told that it was impossible for me to buy more than three pieces of the same item. I had never seen that before. I have always thought that I could buy as much as I can afford.

As days went by, lock-downs started. Most people stayed at home, including farmers, and everyone was worried that now the health crisis was going to transform itself into a food crisis. But God, through his own unique ways has shielded his people from acute hunger during this pandemic. However, the battle is not yet won, we must plan for our food security in the long-term.

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Africa has defeated many enemies including colonialists, but up to date, hunger is one enemy that seems to defeat us always. People may not know that hunger contributes largely to the low human capital development index in Africa, especially chronic hunger which does not kill directly, but it prevents people from working, learning, and thinking hence they grow up weak- physically and mentally.

In the past five years with the exemption of 2019, Kenya has had many instances of drought that exposed millions of Kenyans to hunger, especially those living in arid and semi-arid counties. As if drought was not enough, big swarms of desert locusts come visiting towards the end of last year. With COVID-19, locusts, and unpredictable weather, many food security experts predicted a food crisis in East Africa. If I were asked, I could have given the same predictions given that hunger in Kenya was a normal occurrence for the past few years.

But how have we managed to escape the food crisis this far?

2020 has had a perfect weather for cultivation. Kenya has experienced unique regular rains that are above average. It rained when everybody expected the rains, and the sun shone when it was expected to shine. It's as if climate change was put on hold for a moment. This regular weather allowed farmer to plan their activities especially the planting season of March-April, and the consistent well distributed rainfall has kept the crops thriving.

Despite the limitations of COVID-19 pandemic, Kenya's agriculture sector has performed well in the year 2020.
Thriving maize plantation

The excellent seasonal rainfall of March-April resulted in high vegetable regeneration with all counties recording green vegetation that was above normal ranges. This provided adequate pasture for pastoralists leading to increased dairy production.

The ongoing harvest of maize, millet, sorghum, and other vegetable crops has replenished rural households’ stocks with adequate food thereby improving food availability.

Although most farmers did not have access to all the required inputs due to COVID-19 restrictions, pundits say that Kenya expects an increase in food production compared to 2019.

Just like that, Kenya was rescued from the jaws of hunger in the short term. The long-term is still uncertain.

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