Journal of
Agricultural Extension and Rural Development

  • Abbreviation: J. Agric. Ext. Rural Dev
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2170
  • DOI: 10.5897/JAERD
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 409

Full Length Research Paper

Seasonal climate dynamics, perceptions and multiple risk adaptations: Lessons from Smallholder mixed agro ecosystems in Semi-arid Kenya

Borona Mwenda
  • Borona Mwenda
  • Department of Environmental Sciences, School of Environmental Studies, Kenyatta University P. O. Box 62837-00200 Nairobi, Kenya.
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Dionysius Kiambi
  • Dionysius Kiambi
  • Director of Research, Pan African Christian University P. O. Box 56875-0020 Nairobi, Kenya.
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James Kungu
  • James Kungu
  • Department of Environmental Sciences, School of Environmental Studies, Kenyatta University P. O. Box 62837-00200 Nairobi, Kenya.
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Jeske Van De Gevel
  • Jeske Van De Gevel
  • Bioversity International-East and Southern Africa Office, C/o World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) P. O. Box 30677, Nairobi 00100, Kenya.
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Carlo Farda
  • Carlo Farda
  • Bioversity International-East and Southern Africa Office, C/o World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) P. O. Box 30677, Nairobi 00100, Kenya.
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Yasuyuki Morimoto
  • Yasuyuki Morimoto
  • Bioversity International-East and Southern Africa Office, C/o World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) P. O. Box 30677, Nairobi 00100, Kenya.
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  •  Accepted: 08 February 2019
  •  Published: 30 September 2020

Abstract

Climate variability is frequently associated with instances of dry spells and droughts, which principally result from highly variable rainfall and increasing temperatures. In mixing agro ecosystems, these phenomena primarily affected crop and livestock practices of smallholder farmers through generating social, economic and environmental losses. Resulting water scarcity, in quality and quantity, at household and landscape level is likely to negatively affect major water dependent livelihoods. In the event of associated and perceived climate variability impacts, households in Wote area of Eastern Kenya at individual level institute adaptations to manage these impacts. The present study used semi structured questionnaires and a focus group discussion to populate household’s perceptions and adaptation mechanisms. This study results revealed that households perceived that climatic change and associated impacts are getting more severe. These include instances of higher temperatures and more variable season onset and a wide range of ecosystem deterioration indicators including effects on land health and vegetative cover. Anomalies and means computed from Gridded 10 year rainfall and temperature records from the Climate Research Unit-University of East Anglia (CRU) partially demonstrate similarity to some of these observations. Sampled households employ a wide range of adaptations strategies, principally crop based practices such as cultivation of fast maturing crops and crop diversification. These practices aim at building resilience, taking advantage of new opportunities and can primarily reduce the unforeseen damage and losses resulting from extreme climatic events. Hence, emphasis should be given to crop-based strategies, value addition, forecast based action and financing and localization of water harvesting.

Key words: Climate variability, smallholder, adaptation, Kenya, semi-arid.