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Below-average Production Expected for Kenya 'Long Rain' Crops

11 June 2014

KENYA - The 2014 “long-rains” season (March to May) started on time during the second and third weeks of March, supporting land preparation and planting activities in the western uni-modal rainfall areas.

Poor spatial and temporal distribution of the rains during April resulted into a prolonged dry spell eventually retarding crop development.

This was characterized by wilting, especially in key maize-producing areas in the Rift Valley and central Kenya.

As rains resumed in May in most cropping areas of the former Rift Valley, Western, Nyanza, Central and Eastern (with the exception of northern Kitui county) provinces, replanting is taking place and harvesting, normally scheduled to start in August/September, is likely to be delayed.

In bi-modal southeastern and coastal lowlands, where the “long-rains” season represents only 30 percent of local annual production and harvesting is expected to start earlier in July, crops are in good conditions as rainfall has been generally favourable along the season (causing also localized flooding in coastal areas in May), leading to positive NDVI anomalies (see map).

In conclusion, production forecast for the aggregate 2014 “long-rains” season cereal crops is set at slightly below-average levels.

Overall, cereal production in 2014 (including a forecast of an average output for the “short-rains” season to be harvested by early 2015), is expected to decline by about 8 percent compared to last year.

Accordingly, cereal import requirements for the 2014/15 marketing year (July/June) are forecast over 2.5 million tonnes, about 22 percent above the average of the previous five years.

Further Reading

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TheCropSite News Desk

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