Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Harsh weather patterns to shrink Kenyan maize production

AllAfrica, via Business Daily (Nairobi): Kenyans could soon be forced to adjust their eating habits as the favourite maize meal becomes more scarce due to the effects of climate change. Options include sorghum, millet or cassava, unless scientists unveil maize varieties that can mature faster under reduced rainfall and rising temperatures.

The climate change, which has been informed by excess emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, has led to irregular rainfall and a rise in temperatures in Kenya. With a huge fraction of Kenya's agricultural activities pegged on rainfall, experts have raised the red flag that the country was facing dwindling output from rain-fed agriculture with the maize crop set to bear the brunt.

"If measures are not taken to develop highly drought resistant maize variety, production will drop significantly in the next 10 years," says Lilian Njeri, a maize breeder at the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI). Local scientists are predicting that temperature in Kenya will rise by two degree centigrade in the next 25 years. This means arable land will become drier…

Flag of Kenya, Wikimedia Commons

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