How do Kenyan farmers adapt to climate change?

Apr 28, 2015 Posted by:  

We encourage you to watch a series of short videos exploring various ways in which small-scale farmers from Kenya try to adapt to changing climate.

The first video presents Margaret Silas from Ngurumo village. On her farm she grows mainly coffee, sweet potatoes, mango, macadamia, arrow roots and trees. Due to the lack of rain farmers in her village face a lot of problems. Most of all seedlings tend to dry out and farmers are forced to carry out re-plantation. In order to adapt to these challenges, Margaret started to use on her farm more sustainable farming techniques, which result in higher yields and improved food security. Using more manure and planting seeds in small holes allow the seeds to survive up to two weeks without rain. More sustainable farming methods protect soil and prevent it from eroding. Consequently, this leads to better crops, as proved by Margaret, whose maize yields have increased from 3-4 to 57 bags. Watch the video here.

The second video focuses on Andrew Gitari, who is a farmer and a former teacher in Kabaune village in the Giaki region. He talks about the impact of deforestation on the environment and the importance of trees in attracting water and rain as well as protecting soil from erosion. He explains the need for the right types of the trees which do not demand a lot of water themselves. Currently, farmers in his village grow fruit trees such as mango and guava. Watch the video here.

The next video tells the story of Anastacia Muthoni, who is a widowed farmer living in Makengi. She talks about the problems caused by the lack of rainfall and the need for additional irrigation of the crops on her farm. One way in which farmers in her village try adapt to climate change is through crop diversification, for example by planting cassava on their fields. Watch the video here.

The fourth video presents Celeste Thia Kangani and Julia Ndia from Karurumo village. They are farmers who despite their old age must take care of their orphaned grandchildren and face challenges related to the decreasing yields. They describe how the climate has changed locally and rains have become less frequent. In the past Celeste and Julia planted sweet potatoes and cassava, which used to give high yields, but now the situation has changed and they are forced to use fertilizers for the first time. Watch the video here.

In the next video Celeste M. Nyaga from the Karwe village explains how the new seeds varieties and training on different farming techniques are helping local farmers adapt to challenges caused by changing rainfall patterns. Watch the video here.

The sixth video presents Ruth Marigu Njue, who is a single mother taking care of 10 children in the Kururumo village. Farming is currently harder for her than it used to be because of numerous problems caused by higher temperatures and the lack of rains. In order to avoid plant diseases and pests, she has started to cultivate fast growing crop varieties which help her adapt to climate change. As a way to cope with the draughts she has also begun to plant more trees around her farm as they are supposed to attract water and rains. Watch the video here.

The last video tells the story of the Kamburu community and their cooperation with the Kenyan Institute of Culture and Ecology (ICE). It shows how the local community worked together in order to reclaim control over its food system and as a result it became more united, healthier and more resilient to climate change. In cooperation with ICE Kamburu members re-learnt how to use traditional sustainable farming techniques, such as composting and using manure as a fertilizer. They increased biodiversity of their crops through returning to local seeds and introducing a greater variety of indigenous plants. The project was a good exemplification of the fact that the agricultural knowledge needed to achieve food security, protect environment and adapt to climate change can be very often found already within local communities. Watch the video here.

Source: CCAFS & ICE

Photo credit: P. Casier / CGIAR (Flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Last Modified: Jun 8, 2015