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Friday, 31 July 2015

Climate, traders, all ganged up against the farmer


By Murigi Ndung’u
As the month of June waned and the onset of July struck, many farmers had their faces downcast and uncertain. Plants in the fields had started wilting and the hopes of a better year had only a stub left. This was a period of fear, the fear of a repeat of last year’s reign of the sun.
The continuous scorching sun found when many plants had started to flower. The pollen grains were bound to lose their prehensility due to extreme dehydration and therefore be unable to stick to the stigma; consequently, the fruition will be backtracked.
When the rain at last fell, it was jubilation and blithe, a change of the route towards a better end of the tunnel. Maize, the staple food of most Kenyans regained its green glamour while the beans yielded heavily. 
It is at this month that most of the farmers in the Laikipia region reap their beans for the year, until the next year. The one time per year type of crop is likely to be depleted before the next planting season comes.
Among the crops rich in proteins, that farmer’s plant in Laikipia County includes beans and peas that have a relatively low supply, high demand hence are highly priced. Taking into account the demand and supply relationship, the benefits of hoarding now comes into place.
The human wants tend to be endless, unlimited, habitual, and repetitive. Luxurious needs are relegating basic human wants. Food is more basic than education, but a parent will sell whatever the meager harvest for the sake of educating her children.
During this midyear-harvesting season, most of the harvest ends up in the warehouses of the wholesalers awaiting the cost increase that is triggered by declining supply. This makes the one person who never felt the sting of farming richer and killing, the one hand that tends to feed the white-collar mouths.
In extreme weather conditions, when the farmer cannot harvest what they planted, they turn to the cereal stores where it is too hard for them to buy back what they sold during the last season of bounty.
Undaunted by pity, the sellers will quote their callous prices and the farmer ends up being the one who brought up the stinging baby, sucked it and planted the spikes on it such that when it croaks, the mother cowers. 
It is now a man eats man society. There is no more faith in the fields. People have resorted into social evils as a means of earning a daily bread, which by whatever means is being taxed back into the society.
When the head thinks, it is too good to be supported by the feet, it is time for doomsday, and when the feet find it difficult to heed the guidance of the head, there is parting of ways. 
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