Climate change and variability is currently an incentive of global concern. It is identified as a change in weather patterns that occurs within the atmosphere that attribute directly or indirectly to human activity. Climate change refers to long term changes as calculated over many years, while climate variability refers to temporary or yearly variations in climatic changes (rainfall, sunshine and temperature) above or below long term mean changes.
Agriculture is one of the main sources of livelihoods for smallholder farmers in rural communities. Yet, smallholder’s farmers face more challenges that affect agricultural productivity such as poor infrastructure, poverty, and lack of information. The knowledge of farmers therefore, is important for enhancing their adaptive capacity either through long-term observations and interaction with the environment, which is transferred from generation to generation.
Observations have identified that farmers’ knowledge and perceptions to climate change, influences their adaptation strategies, reduces food insecurity and improves their ability to develop resilience. Therefore, knowledge and perceptions provide insight on which individuals structure human-environment interactions.
Towards identifying the level of awareness of climate change within Nyansiongo Sub County in Nyamira, William and Dinah Oigara community Foundation in 2017 supported a survey to establish local knowledge, perception and response to climate change among small scale farm holders. The principal investigator is a final student in Environmental studies from University of Nairobi who collaborated with the community resource persons and socio-economic groups to contribute into the survey. Key respondents included small holding farmers in three villages, of Nyansune, Riensune and Tindereti.
The survey identified that majority of farmers had awareness of effects of climate change which included prolonged dry periods, reduced rainfall and increasing temperatures. This was associated with poor crop production or crop failure. Introduction of high water intake Eucalyptus trees along river beds and wetlands has eminently caused reduction of water systems like rivers, springs and ponds.
Farmers have adopted measures to cope with climate change, using social economic groups such as farm management practices and diversification of livelihoods. Communities are now reaching out for support from government and partners to support farmers in adopting diversification for sustainable agricultural practices.
As a result of the research a few suggestions are made to reduce the effects of climate change thus;
- Replace of Eucalyptus trees with indigenous trees along river catchment areas to enhance water availability and to preserve water catchment areas and systems.
- Improve awareness of farmers on sustainable methods of farming and enhance production. These include information on crop rotation and mixed farming and diversification. These will provide preventive measures and adaptation on climate change.
- Involvement of stakeholders and community in water conservation projects example afforestation, making water reservoirs, and drilling boreholes.
Investigator: Abby Bosibori, Onsongo
Appreciation to: William and Dinah Oigara community Foundation