The prolonged lack of rains in Gatundu North, Kiambu County has left tens of locals starving as the dry spell continues to ravish the region which is usually green.
Like in some other areas across the country, the residents are now facing the most food insecure times after rivers, where they have been drawing irrigation water, started drying up.
During our visit to Karimenu river, probably the biggest in the constituency, we found Isaac Wachira, a maize, potatoes and cabbages farmer prematurely harvesting crops to feed his livestock.
Pessimistic Wachira said he has lost hope for the rain coming any time soon.
The farmer revealed that he has never prepared himself for such a season insisting that they have only been looking up to God since rains began being erratic during the planting season.
“From where I sit, these crops could not have made it and I decided because I don’t want to lose everything, let me feed them to my cows,” Wachira said.
Wachira is not alone - farmers in various parts of this constituency are a worried lot.
No one is talking about a bumper harvest because it is highly unlikely due to the prolonged dry season that has seen maize among other crops wither in most parts of the constituency.
Simon Njenga, another desperate farmer who has been gazing into the skies hopeful that rains could turn around their desperation, told journalists that while the area has not been receiving relief food as it has always been food secure.
He added that locals now do not mind even the provision of genetically modified food (GMO) to cushion them from biting hunger.
“We are now asking the government to provide us with relief food, even GMO if it is available. We cannot wait and die when there is something that can keep us going, its health implications notwithstanding. We are food insecure and as you have seen from our farms, our crops have withered and our only hope now is food donations,” Njenga said.
“Our rivers have started drying up and we have nowhere to fetch water for irrigation. It is that desperate season that we need the government to promptly intervene and offer us a solution,” Njenga added.
Phyllis Nyambura, another farmer, revealed that while she had visited her farm expecting to harvest arrowroots, her expectations were met with sharp contrast after she went home with an empty basket.
“This situation is wanting. Hunger is very rampant here but people don’t want to speak about this reality. Please tell the government to come to the ground and save us,” Nyambura stated.
The residents made the food donations appeal at a time when the number of people in urgent need of food assistance across the country continues to rise.
Blamed for delayed rainfall, climate change and poor water harvesting methods, food has been mentioned as having caused malnutrition and keeping children away from school.