Climate Variability: A review on how small scale arable farmers are adapting to its impacts (A focus on Chisare Village in Cherangani, Trans-Nzoia East Sub-County, Kenya)


“One of the biggest obstacles to making a start on climate change is that it has become a cliché before it has even been understood” – Tim Flannery, 2013. For that reason, how can one understand climate change?

Planet earth is facing a huge problem named global warming. This is caused by the invisible greenhouse gases which insulate the Earth. They trap the sun’s heat and keep the planet warm enough to sustain life. Some greenhouse gases in our atmosphere do exist naturally. But a large portion of the greenhouse gases in our atmosphere today have been, and continue to be, created by humans. This means that more of the sun’s heat is being trapped than the Earth actually needs. Hence, too much heat is being trapped, and the planet is warming too much in turn .Global warming is affecting weather patterns all over the world and this effect is what’s known as climate change.

A region’s climate means the usual weather patterns and conditions of a region. So, a change in weather patterns and conditions is a change in climate. The world’s weather patterns are changing. This includes temperature changes (warming in some places and cooling in others) and altered rainfall patterns, as well as more frequent occurrences of hazardous weather events like droughts and floods. Changing climates pose risks to the health and safety of people, wildlife, forests, farms and water supplies.

Climate change has posed measurable ramifications on the source of income of small scale farmers. It has been predicted that the adverse impacts of climate change are expected to lead to production losses in the sector, compromising the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), especially Goal 1 “Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger” and Goal 7 “Ensure Environmental Stability”.

The UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) highlights two fundamental response strategies: mitigation and adaptation. While mitigation seeks to limit climate change by reducing the emissions of (greenhouse gases) GHG and by enhancing carbon reduction (sink) opportunities, adaptation aims to alleviate the adverse impacts through a wide-range of system-specific actions. Sensitivity to the issue of adaptation has grown over the last couple of years and it has now emerged as an urgent policy priority, prompting action both within and outside the climate change negotiations. According to (The Energy and Research Institute-TERI, 2012), adaptation to climate change is a new process for both developed and developing nations and concrete experience in applying an integrated approach to adaptation is limited. It involves coping with climatic change – taking measures to reduce the negative effects, or exploit the positive ones, by making appropriate adjustments. The level of preparedness of a person, community or nation refers to pre-defined emergency actions that could be activated when extreme climate events or natural disasters occur in order to minimize damages which are likely to result.

Adaptive capacity is the ability of a system to adjust to climate change (including climate variability and extremes) to moderate potential damage, to take advantage of opportunities, or to cope with the consequences (IPCC-Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change , 2007) . Thus, the adaptive capacity of a system or society describes its ability to modify its characteristics or behaviour so as to cope better with changes in external conditions. The degree to which an agricultural system is affected by climate change depends on its adaptive capacity. Hence, there is an urgent need to identify approaches that strengthen the adaptive capacity of farmers and enhance their ability to respond to climate change.

Farmers around West Africa, Ghana in Accra have considerable experience in dealing with climate variability, the outstanding levels of variability is associated with long-term climate change within the realm of traditional coping strategies as crop diversification.

For most countries in East Africa, small-scale agriculture is the main economic activity and source of livelihood for most people living in rural areas. Agricultural development is therefore likely to play a crucial role in the future development of this region. Strategies for this type of development include ways to help small-scale farmers cope with climate variability. Climate variability and change is devastating for East African countries such as Ethiopia and Kenya, where smallholder farmers depend on rain fed agriculture. The agricultural sector in these areas is particularly vulnerable to adversities of weather, not only because farmers depend on rain, but also because farming is subsistence-oriented and is practiced with relatively basic technologies on small pieces of land (Davis, 2009).

Effects of climate change on agriculture

The Inter-Governmental Panel discussion on Climate Change (IPCC) in their most recent report predict that climate change will lead to decreasing crop yields in most tropical and sub-tropical regions owing to alterations in temperature and precipitation patterns, thereby negatively impacting on agricultural sectors and worsening the prevalence of hunger in developing countries (International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), 2012) . Climate variability will increase almost everywhere. Northern latitudes will experience more rainfall; many subtropical regions will see less.

(Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 2007) reported that up to 11% of arable land could be highly affected by climate change in the developing world.

Brazil and other nations of Latin America and the Caribbean, are more negatively affected by climate variability. The explanation for this is their location, predominantly at low latitudes; in these areas, temperatures are already too hot, sometimes above optimum levels for agriculture. In low latitudes, the rural poor tend to live in the hotter and drier regions of each country. Climate variability is likely to damage these regions more severely than the more temperate zones of each country. Moreover, according to Cline (2007) and Stern (2007), as the sector accounts for a significant portion of the income in developing nations, a certain percentage reduction in agricultural potential would lead to higher losses than in developed economies

Africa is one of the continents most vulnerable to climate change and climate variability. In addition to inflicting these direct climatic impacts, climate change will compound the existing vulnerabilities of smallholder farmers, as a result of poverty, sensitivity of their geographical locations, high dependence on natural resources and limited capacity to adopt new livelihood strategies. Smallholder farmers are particularly vulnerable given their marginalized status and dependence on climate-sensitive livelihood strategies.

Figure: A pictorial summary of some effects of global warming on agriculture

Source: UNFCCC website

a. Crop yield production

According to (International Livestock Research Institute, 2009) due to climate variability, maize yields will decline drastically, almost to zero in some regions. They go further to explain that such precipitous declines, which could displace human populations, altogether, can be addressed only by making major changes to the current agricultural system. An example to this is practicing agro forestry, mixed farming, utilizing soil and water conservation technologies among others. Some regions as Eastern Brazil have predicted maize yields to moderately decrease up to 25% if there are no changes in the current production practices. In this case, scientists think that farmers will be able to maintain if not increase their current production levels by applying different maize breeding and agronomy practices. This if widely adopted will reduce instances of loss in the sector and to the national economy.

Contrary to the belief of loss, elsewhere, such as in the Ethiopian highlands around Addis Ababa, smallholder rainfed maize production benefit from climate change, with yields in some areas as much as doubling due to constant rain in the area.  As a developing country, Kenya is equally vulnerable to climate change because we heavily depend on agriculture which tends to be relatively warm already, in addition to lack of infrastructure to respond well to increased variability and lack of capital to invest in innovative adaptations poses a great threat to the production of crops in the area.

Recently, due to the unprecedented climate change-linked phenomena have resulted in the waters of Lake Baringo and Lake Bogoria submerging farms under the Perkerra and Eldume irrigation schemes, spelling doom for an already food insecure Baringo County.

The Daily Nation echoes these discussions by explaining that Trans-Nzoia County is the food granary of the country because of its good potential farming area with very favorable farming conditions that supports a vast diverse variety of crops to grow. The main cash crops grown in the area are maize, tea, sunflower, coffee, pyrethrum and beans. These crops have been largely affected by the drastic change in weather patterns in the area which has led to declining crop yield posing a food security threat in the country.

Last year the county produced 4.5 million bags but the future of this crucial cash and food crop is at a crossroads (Daily Nation, 2013). A combination of factors including climate change, expensive inputs and inadequate seed supply has all led to a drop in production.  The soils have also become too acidic over time affecting not only growth of crops with addition of fertilizer but also have affected dairy farmers by leading to a drop in milk production.

b. Emerging new diseases

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (2013) has stated that many weeds, pests and fungi thrive under warmer temperatures, wetter climates, and increased Carbon Dioxide levels. Currently, farmers spend more than $11 billion per year to fight weeds in the United States. The range weeds and pests are likely to expand and this would cause new problems for farmers crops previously unexposed to these species. Moreover, increased use of pesticide and fungicides may negatively affect human health.

Farms are being infested by new emerging diseases that are resistant and have affected growth of crops. The recent dreadful disease in the area that has led to declining maize production is the Maize Lethal Necrosis disease (MLN).  The disease was first identified in the USA in 1976 (Niblett and Claflin 1978). MLN is caused by the double infection of maize plants with Maize chlorotic mottle virus (MCMV) and any of the cereal viruses in the Potyviridae group, such as Sugarcane mosaic virus (SCMV), Maize dwarf mosaic virus (MDMV), or Wheat streak mosaic virus (WSMV). MCMV or SCMV typically produce milder symptoms when they infect maize alone; in combination, these two viruses rapidly produce a synergistic reaction that seriously damages or kills infected plants.

Tanzania: In August 2012, reports of an unknown maize disease emerged from Mwanza, near Lake Victoria, and Arusha. Infected plant samples from the Mwanza and Arusha regions were serologically positive for MCMV a SCMV, confirming the presence of MLN.

Kenya: Initial reports of an unknown disease outbreak surfaced in September 2011 in the Bomet county in the South Rift Region; further reports appeared in early 2012 in Naivasha, Narok North, Narok South, Chepalungu, and Sotik, as well as parts of the Eastern Province (Embu and Meru) and the Central Province (Murang‟a, Kirinyaga, and Nyeri). MLN has also been reported recently in Trans-Nzoia, UasinGishu, and Busia.

What are the typical symptoms?

  • Mild to severe mottling on the leaves, usually starting from the base of young leaves in the whorl and extending upwards toward the leaf tips.
  • Stunting and premature aging of the plants.
  • Dying (known as “necrosis”) of the leaf margins that progresses to the mid-rib and eventually the entire leaf.
  • Necrosis of young leaves in the whorl before expansion leading to a symptom known as “dead heart” and eventually plant death.

c. Economy loss

According to (Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 2013) more extreme temperature and precipitation prevent crops from growing. Extreme events, especially floods and droughts harm crops and reduce yields as in 2008, the Mississippi River flooded just before harvest period for many crops causing an estimated loss of $8 billion for farmers.

The economies of many African nations are dependent on sectors that are vulnerable to climate conditions, such as agriculture, fisheries, forestry, and tourism. Agriculture and natural resources provide the livelihood for 70% to 80% of the population, and account for 30% of GDP and 40% of export revenue in Sub -Saharan Africa. In Sub-Saharan Africa agriculture employs 60% to 90% of the total labour force.

Agriculture continues to be the leading sector in the Kenyan economy in terms of its contribution to real GDP(Government of Kenya, 2010). It contributed 36.6% of GDP in the period 1964–74, 33.2% in 1974–79, 29.8% in 1980–89, 26.5% in 1990–95 and 24.5% in 1996–2000. During the same periods the manufacturing sector recorded a growing contribution to GDP of 10%, 11.8%, 12.8%, 13.6% and 13.3%. Between 1993 and 1998, however, the contribution of agriculture to GDP stagnated at 25% while that of manufacturing declined from 13.8% to 13.3%. In spite of the decline in the agricultural sector’s contribution to GDP, it remains one of the most important sectors driving economic growth. Agriculture is, however, the largest contributor to employment despite fluctuations in the percentage share. A large proportion of the labor force (82%) is based in rural areas, while small-scale agriculture absorbs the largest share of new additions to the labor force (Karanja, 2007). The agricultural sector accounts for about 70% of export earnings, with food and beverages constituting over half of the total export earnings. Agriculture is also responsible for providing food security for both the rural and urban populations. However, rapidly expanding population, rapid urbanization and theshortage of high potential arable land cause occasional imbalances between the national demand for food and its supply. Agriculture remains central to the economy and the growth of the sector is positively correlated to growth in the overall economy.

According to the Agricultural Sector Development Strategy (2009-2010) the sector contributes 24% of the country’s GDP and employs 70% of the population in both basic production and industry (Government of Kenya 2009). The sector is also given priority under the economic pillar, one of the three growth pillars envisioned in Kenya Vision 2030, the road map by which the country hopes to arrive to at a newly industrialized status by the year 2030 (Government of Kenya 2007). Agriculture in Kenya is mainly rainfed and is practiced by smallholders, who have noticed changes in weather patterns and have employed various coping mechanisms (Macharia et al. 2010; Kuria 2009).

Adaptation to climate variability

International Food Policy Research Institute (2009) states that the ability of smallholder farmers in developing countries to cope with the effects of climate change is impacted by limited capacity, few alternative sources of income, lack of expertise, and lack of appropriate public policies and financing.

This argument was supported by (Dani, 2006) who highlighted that it is important farmers first notice that the climate has changed, and then identify useful adaptations and implement them and the ability of a nation or region to adapt to climate change has been said to relate closely to its level of wealth, Strength of educational institutions and access to technology.

Furthermore, International Food Policy Research Institute (2009) explained that in Europe, adaptation policy has been developed across all levels of government, with some adaptation planning integrated into coastal and water management, into environmental protection and land planning, and into disaster risk management while in Africa, most national governments are initiating governance systems for adaptation. Disaster risk management, adjustments in technologies and infrastructure, ecosystem-based approaches, basic public health measures, and livelihood diversification are reducing vulnerability, although efforts to date tend to be isolated. Farmers have poor access to technical or financial supporting mechanisms and they lack the capacity to strategically confront future challenges. Therefore, they need support to deal with the emerging challenges in order to intensify research and develop both mitigation and adaptation strategies.

Farmers adaptive capacity to climate change and variability (Gbetibouo, 2009) went ahead and emphasized that agricultural adaptation to climate change practices consists of various scales (local, regional, global), actors (farmers, firms, government), and types:

  1. Micro-level options, such as crop diversification and altering the timing of operations;
  2. Market responses, such as income diversification and credit schemes;
  3. Institutional changes, mainly government responses, such as removal-preserve subsidies and improvement in agricultural markets; and
  4. Technological developments—the development and promotion of new crop varieties and advances in water management techniques

a. Best adaptation practices in Africa

In South Africa, as a way to cope with these changes, a few women become members of the Rawsonville cooperative run by Oxfam’s partner organization, Women on Farms Project. The organization aims to help seasonal and unemployed workers who suffer from adverse effects of climate change to increase their income. Their cooperative grows gourmet mushrooms, which they sell to a commercial farmer in Stellenbosch. The women receive a stipend of 500 Rand (US $60).

In Nigeria, the main system for clearing a farm land is bush burning. And it is this type of activity has been known to increase CO2 emissions engendering global warming, climate change and sea level.

The main adaptation strategies of farmers in the Limpopo River Basin are switching crops, changing crop varieties, changing planting dates, increasing irrigation, building water-harvesting schemes, changing the amount of land under cultivation, and buying livestock feed supplements.

In Uganda, (Twinomugisha, 2014) describes in his research the use of traditional strategies like the natural processes and resources in which farmers generally avoid eliminating all weeds in the soil because they can counter the impact of pests that attack certain crops. Community elders explained how traditional knowledge considers the interdependencies between food, pest-control and the maintenance of soil health in the same breath. He also describes another principle based on the need to maintain crop diversity to maximize output as well as protect against climatic risks. This principle necessitates a balance between crops, animals and birds. He adds that in order to survive, farmers try to secure household food security using food reserves kept in granaries for those few families who have them or kept in baskets and sacks in the house for those that do not. Farmers also grow food crops that can stay in their gardens for long periods, especially tubers like cassava, sweet potatoes and yams. Almost all households have a kitchen garden with vegetables and fruits grown to improve family nutrition. Farmers find that these strategies are more effective at ensuring food security than market-based strategies, which they regard as too risky. Experience has taught them that, when they sell their food crops at harvest time, the prices are usually low and, by the time there are food shortages, market prices are usually too high for them to afford.

In Kenya the (Kenya Agriculture Research Institute (KARI), 2012) highlights seeds of drought-tolerant crop varieties are being produced and promoted by its seed unit, while studies are underway on improving the productivity of livestock such as camels, indigenous chickens, small ruminants, bees, and guinea fowl . Other proposals aimed at reducing the vulnerability of farmers and pastoralists include developing special livestock insurance plans, the breeding of animals that adapt well to climatic vagaries, regular vaccination campaigns, and the promotion of economic livelihood diversification especially by pastoralists (Government of Kenya, 2010).

According to (World Radio for Environment (WREN), 2010) two innovative insurance projects are underway. KilimoSalama (“safe farming” in Swahili) is an insurance plan that protects farmers‟ investments in seeds, fertilizers, and other inputs. Piloted in 2009, the plan pays when experts monitoring local weather conditions and rainfall determine that crops have died. Some practices that farmers are adopting to cope with climate change include diversifying both crops and farming practices, such as the adoption of fish farming, kitchen gardening, hay stacking, and bio-intensive agriculture (Participatory Ecological Land Use Management Association Kenya (PELUM-K), 2010).

Farmers are supported in these and other practices, such as tree planting in both com-munal and private landholdings, by government ministries, private sector initiatives, and many Non-Governmental Organizations.

At the policy level, the (Government of Kenya, 2010) recommends a number of interventions to help adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change. Investment in early warning systems as well as in the construction of water harvesting dams and food storage facilities is proposed.

National Environment Management Authority [NEMA] (2007) states that agricultural practice options include the promotion of underutilized crops that are drought- and salt tolerant and pest- and disease resistant, such as millet and cassava, as well as the protection of the natural resource base through soil and water conservation efforts such as the promotion of conservation agriculture.

b. Factors Inhibiting Adaptation

According to a study done by Fatuase (2013) the major barriers identified were inadequate funds (89.6%), inadequate information (64.4%), shortage of labor (41.5%), shortage of land (34.1%), inadequate technology know how (29.6%) and others (23%).

Best farming methods

a. Mixed farming

Mixed farming exists in many forms depending on external and internal factors. External factors are weather patterns, market prices, political stability, technological developments, etc. Internal factors relate to local soil characteristics, composition of the family and farmers’ ingenuity (Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 2013). Farmers can decide to opt for mixed enterprises when they want to save resources by interchanging them on the farm – because these permit wider crop rotations and thus reduce dependence on chemicals, because they consider mixed systems closer to nature, or because they allow diversification for better risk management.

There is wide variation in mixed systems. Even pastoralists practice a form of mixed farming since their livelihood depends on the management of different feed resources and animal species. At a higher level, a region can consist of individual specialized farms and service systems that together act as a mixed system. Other forms of mixed farming include cultivation of different crops on the same field, such as millet and cowpea or millet and sorghum, or several varieties of the same crop with different life cycles, which uses space more efficiently and spreads risks more uniformly.

Mixed farming systems can be classified in many ways – based on land size, type of crops and animals, geographical distribution, market orientation, etc. Three major categories, in four different modes of farming, are distinguished here. The categories are:

  • On-farm versus between-farm mixing
  • Mixing within crops and/or animal systems
  • Diversified versus integrated systems

Advantages of mixed farming

  • It offers highest return on farm business, as the by-products of farm are properly utilized.
  • It provides work throughout year.
  • Efficient utilization of land, labour, equipment and other resources.
  • The crop by products such as straw, bus, fodder etc. is used for feeding of livestock and in return they provide milk.
  • Manures available from livestock maintain soil fertility.
  • It helps in supplying all the food needs of the family members.
  • Intensive cultivation is possible.
  • If one source of income is lost he can maintain his family from other source of income.
  • Milk cattle’s provide draft animals for crop production and rural transport.
  • Mixed farming increases social status of the farmer.

Kenya Agriculture Research Institute (KARI), (2012) states that in Kenya the livestock is much closed connected with agriculture because animal power is the main source of power in agriculture. FYM is the main source for maintaining soil fertility and animals make good use of subsidiary and by-products on farms and in turn they provide milk under such circumstances mixed farming will most suit in Indian conditions.

Disadvantages of mixed farming

  • Indigenous method of cultivation is used till now.
  • Draft and mulch animals should be sold when they fail in production.
  • Healthy calf should be reared to replace age old animals.

Requirements of mixed farming

  • Complicated management practices.
  • Sound cropping scheme.
  • Good cattle in suitable number

b. Organic farming

Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

IPM is a method of crop management that uses a variety of complimentary strategies to control pests. It is an intensive practice that relies on pest prevention, observation and finally intervention. The most celebrated aspect of IPM is the use of biological controls where “good” bugs to eliminate “bad” bugs. Picture an army of lady bugs swooping down and devouring, and thus destroying, a cloud of leafy green hungry aphids (International Livestock Research Institute, 2009).  Other mechanical controls include good hand-picking of bugs and vacuuming pests off of infested plants. I’ve also seen farmers sweep home-made blowtorches across greens laden with flea beetles eating their fill. The poor little buggers didn’t know what hit them.

What is good about IPM?

IPM relies on close observation of crop health. This keeps the farmer in tune with their land and facilitates a quick response to any problems. The practice is based on acceptable pest levels, allowing them to coexist in the ecosystem until there is a problem.

What is bad about IPM?

The final stage allows for a chemical dousing if that is what will save the crop. Perhaps saving the farmer his livelihood, but harming the land and distilling farming down to a purely economic activity.

c. No-Till Agriculture

No-till farming has been making waves of late in the parts of Europe and US. It works just like it sounds (Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 2013). Farmers don’t break the soil, opting instead to seed directly on top of the soil. Rodale Institute has developed an organic system of no-till farming. Instead of using herbicides the institute has developed a piece of equipment called a “roller-crimper” that rolls down an over-wintering cover crop and leaves the land ready for planting. If organic no-till agriculture were used successfully on all of the earth’s 3.5 billion tillable acres, it would absorb and sequester more than half of all present-day CO2 emissions every year.

What is good about No-Till?

It sequesters carbon and prevents soil erosion.

What is bad about No-Till?

If not practiced with organic methods, farmers use chemicals to keep weeds in check.

d. Biodynamic agriculture

Developed by Rudolf Steiner in 1924, biodynamic agriculture is a holistic system that treats the farm as an organism. The goal is a closed loop, where no inputs are brought on to the farm. Soil fertility is built through cover crops and on farm animal manure (United States Department of Agriculture, 2013).

To be certified biodynamic a farm must also be organically certified. Farmers using his method also use nine homeopathic preparations to treat compost, soil, and plants. They also follow the rhythms of nature and the cosmos for tasks like seeding, and other on-farm rituals. Throw into the mix the fact that biodynamic farmers think in terms of processes and forces, as opposed to substances, and you have a whole new way of looking at agriculture.

What is good about biodynamic?

Closed loop system does not allow for chemical inputs. Thinking holistically only helps with long-term sustainability

What is bad about biodynamic?

While the carrots from local biodynamic farm are out of this world, so maybe are some of the cosmic cycle watching associated with biodynamics.

e. Permaculture

“Permaculture (permanent agriculture) is the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems.”  It was developed in the 1970’s by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren on the southern Australian island state of Tasmania. Their design sets out to create different agricultural ‘zones’, so that many productive edges are formed. But permaculture in imitating the complexity of natural systems, right down to how night air moves, defies simple explanation.

Theoretical framework

The Malthusian theory of population

The theory is by Thomas Malthus who was an English clergyman. In 1798, he published the famous essay “Essay on the principal of population” The essay had two propositions.

  • That food was necessary for existence of man
  • The passion between two sexes was also necessary for the existence of man

Malthus stated that population doubled every generation when its growth is unchecked thus the number will grow exponentially in 1-2-4-8-16 …… up to 256 by the 8th generation. However the means of subsistence will increase with arithmetic progression of 1-2-3-4-5 ….. up to 9 by the 8thgeneration. Malthus thought that the balance could only be maintained if famine, disease and war periodically checked the population and this pessimistic view was accepted by other 19th century scholars in Europe. The ultimate principal of Malthus hypothesis implies that Mankind is faced with the dismal prospect of being able to solve the problem of food insecurity.

This theory for the first time focused the public attention on the problems of food supply rising from a rapidly increasing population. The essence of the Malthusian theory in his own words is that “the power of the population is indefinitely greater than the power of the earth to provide for man’s subsistence” The theory has been highly criticized as it has not been realistic in most parts of the world. His inability to foresee the green revolution, the technological revolution and family planning has made it not to be as he predicted but the theory continues to be a concern in Africa due to persistent problem climate variability leading to famine and degradation of natural resources which forms the source of food and income to people.

The conceptual framework

The declining agricultural productivity in Kenya is worrisome and a real challenge for a government with a population of approximately 40 million to feed. Worse still is the expected adverse impact of global warming on agriculture in the future. Global circulation models predict that global warming will lead to increased temperatures of about 4 °C and cause variability of rainfall by up to 20% in Kenya by the year 2030. From these predictions, the two extreme climate events that may adversely affect the agricultural sector are drought (crop water stress leading to declining yields) and flooding (resulting in water logging) in both the arid and semi-arid areas and the high potential areas.

Against this background of limited arable land, predicted adverse climate conditions and declining agricultural productivity, the biggest challenge facing the Kenyan government is to intensify food crop production so that output can keep pace with rapid population growth without a large increase in land devoted to food crops, especially maize and milk. Currently, agricultural intensification is based on a combination of inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides, plant breeding technology, irrigation and improved agricultural practices such as multiple cropping. However, productivity continues to be undermined by unpredictable weather and climate conditions and declining soil fertility. The researcher conceptualizes the study as follows.


Technically, it is obvious that farmers still find it difficult to adapt to climate change in developing countries like Kenya. To ensure that small scale arable farmers can do this independently, the government CSOs and other economic actors have an important role to ensure that arable small scale farmers can independently carry out practices that promote adaptation to climate change. Policymaker should ensure that farmers have access to affordable credit to increase their ability and flexibility to change production strategies in response to the forecasted climate conditions. Due to the fact that access to water for irrigation increases the resilience of farmers to climate variability, irrigation investment needs should be reconsidered to allow farmers increased water control to counteract adverse impacts from climate variability and change. Pricing systems and reforms ought to be reformed to fit the specific needs of each country.


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