Kenya Sees Poor Rains, Breadbasket To Be Spared

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Rains during Kenya’s longest rain season between March to May are expected to be less than normal this year, meteorologists said March 8, compounding an existing drought in some parts of east Afria’s biggest economy.

The worst-hit areas would be in Kenya’s arid northeast, bordering Somalia and Ethiopia, where most of the 2.4 million people receiving food aid in the country are located. Many of them are pastoralists living in arid areas hit by drought.

“Much of the country is expected to record below-normal or depressed rainfall during the long rains season,” said Joseph Mukabana, director of the Kenya Meteorological Department.

“This will highly interfere with agricultural activities. Much of the Rift Valley, as well as central highlands and Nairobi area, are expected to record near-normal rainfall,” Mukabana said. “We still can get good cereals there.”

Agriculture accounts for about 25 per cent of gross domestic product in the country. Kenya is the world’s leading exporter of black tea, ranked as its top hard currency earner in 2010.

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