In an unprecedented weather event, farmers in Kirima and surrounding villages of Kipipiri Constituency, Nyandarua County, are grappling with the aftermath of a destructive hailstorm. Heavy rains and sizable hailstones battered the region on Wednesday night, laying waste to crops and causing extensive damage to homes and livestock.
The prolonged hailstorm, lasting over three hours, resulted in significant financial losses for local residents, who are now urging the county and national governments to provide aid. In response, Francis Miring’u, the County Executive for Agriculture, instructed officials to evaluate the damage and offer guidance on the necessary assistance for those affected.
Ruth Wambui, a local resident, expressed her shock at the severity of the storm: “This is the first time we have experienced such a heavy hailstorm that lasted for more than three hours. It started with strong winds before the rains came and caused a lot of damage. All the crops have been destroyed by the snow, some livestock grazing in the fields have died while houses have also been destroyed.”
Another farmer, Mercy Ngige, suffered the devastating loss of over five acres of Irish potatoes worth Sh500,000, which she had anticipated harvesting next month. “I was one of the first farmers to plant, expecting an early market that would guarantee me at least Sh1,000 per bag. I was expecting an average of 100 bags per acre but I lost everything. I had taken a loan to venture into modern farming technologies,” lamented Mrs. Ngige.
Robert Nyokabi, who lost sheep in the hailstorm, stressed the urgent need for food aid, housing assistance, and seeds for replanting before the rain season ends. “We have nothing left on the farms, our children are starving. We are urgently appealing to the government to provide us with planting materials,” said the distraught farmer.
As the weather office predicts more heavy rain and flooding in the coming days, Mr. Miring’u is encouraging farmers to consider insuring their crops and animals against such natural disasters. “We have partnered with Apollo Agriculture, an agricultural technology company that works with smallholder farmers to maximize their profits by providing inputs and advice, and APA Insurance, which helps compensate farmers against such disasters,” he explained.
The agriculture executive hopes that the report submitted by his officials will inform the county government’s immediate support and mitigation efforts for the farmers and residents impacted by the destructive hailstorm.