Effect of coronavirus on the agricultural sector in Kenya

Kakamega Mechanics wash hands outside their premises before starting operations. They have revealed that clients must wash hands before they (mechanics) work on their vehicles.[PHOTO COURTESY]

Coronavirus outbreak was first detected in Wuhan city in late December 2019. The disease has now been reported in Kenya where seven positive cases have been confirmed. This has brought lots of chaos in the country where most residents have decided to stay indoors to avoid contracting the virus.

The epidemic is going to affect the agricultural sector in many ways. It is the greatest contributor to the country’s gross domestic income. The country depends mostly on horticultural, tea and coffee exportation income.

The exportation of horticultural crops, tea and coffee are going to be affected by the epidemic as most flights are going to be cancelled.

The virus is spreading widely and it has affected the horticultural exportation which contributes largely to the country’s income.

“Kenya’s fresh exports have taken a huge beating following last-minute flight cancellations, including one last Sunday, which left 10 tonnes of flowers to rot,” reported Standard Digital last week.

Most flower growers were looking forward to making huge sales around Mother’s Day celebrated on March 21, this is expected to be different as coronavirus cases continue to increase.

Exportation of farm inputs required by farmers to facilitate their farming activities will be disrupted hence affecting their production.

The outbreak will affect food supply in the market as most entrepreneurs fetch the fresh commodities from the farms.

It will lead to food wastage as farmers and consumers are going to get scared of going to the market places to avoid crowded places. Fresh vegetables and fruits will not reach the market leading to loses.

To be on the safe side, exercise regular hand washing as it is the only way to curb the spread of the virus. Social distancing, covering your nose and mouth with a face mask and avoid shaking hands are other safety measures that can help keep the disease at bay.