Kenya: Floods Cause Vegetable Scarcity in Mandera

Scarcity of food crops has hit Mandera markets as farms remain flooded for the third week since it rained. Amos Mwanzia, a teacher, said his daily expenditure has tripled in less than a week since there are no fresh vegetables, fruits and other farm produce in the market.

“This has forced me and my friends to switch to Somali tradition food, which is not going down well with me,” he said.

Mandera crop farmers relying on irrigation for the farms along River Daua – the only river in the county – are counting loses after flash floods swept through their farms destroying nearly all their crops.

Mohamed Abdi, a farmer, said crops on his 15-acre farm have been destroyed.

Farms have remained flooded for the third week as vegetables vendors in Mandera market close businesses.

“We are now selling nothing to our customers and we are told lorries ferrying cabbage from Nairobi are stuck between Wajir and Garissa counties because it rained heavily there,” said Fardoza Ali, a vegetable vendor. She said the local farms will take many months to produce more vegetables after the rains subside.

“Livestock price has also gone up because there is grass and no one is willing to sell his or her animals anymore,” Ali said. Mohamed Aliyo, a farmer owning 10 acre, said the flash floods have also destroyed their irrigation machinery, including water pumps and pipes.  Prices of essential vegetable crops have doubled as they have become rare in Mandera town.

Fatuma Ali, a butcher, said a kilo of goat meat has risen from the initial Sh200 to Sh300 because no more goats are being sold as there is enough grass for livestock.

Mandera county director of Agriculture Bernard Ogutu said River Daua flowing between Kenya and Ethiopia has bust its banks destroying crops within a one kilometre radius of the river.

“We are experiencing all this since its still raining in Ethiopia,” he said.

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