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Impacts Of Climate Change On Agriculture And Food Security In Kenya

by Edward Buckler

Climate change and variability are a major threat to the agricultural sector globally. It is widely accepted that the changes in temperature, rainfall patterns, seawater level, and concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere will have the most devastating impacts on agricultural production.

This paper examines the past and future crop production and food security in Kenya under variable climates. From the review, it is evident that the couantry is already experiencing episodes of climate change, manifested by seasonal changes in precipitation and temperature of varying severity and duration despite overreliance on rain-fed agriculture.

The findings also reveal that climate change would continue to negatively affect crop production and food security to the already vulnerable communities in the arid and semi-arid areas.

Future projections also indicate that climate variability will likely alter cropping patterns and yields in several regions.

As the country is faced with a high population growth rate and rapid urbanization, crop production and food security systems need to become more adaptive as uncertainties of projected climate variability and change unfold.

This study is important in providing decision-makers and interested stakeholders with a detailed assessment of climate impacts and adaptation strategies geared towards improved crop production and food security.

Agriculture is an extremely important sector in Kenya due to its significant contribution to the economy, livelihoods, and food security.

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However, the growth of the sector has been affected by seasonal changes in rainfall and temperature of varying magnitude and duration over the years.

At the same time, recurring risks of food insecurity have been witnessed in the past due to a deficit in crop production.

With the projected changes in climatic parameters under different scenarios, the situation is likely to exacerbate in the future, and this will remain a threat to a majority of the population in the ASAL areas.

Thus, in this context, drastic measures should be taken to seize and maximize viable adaptation and mitigation strategies in order to strengthen the agricultural sector and increase food production and access for the growing population.

The Kenyan government can play a vital role by promoting appropriate farm-level adaptation measures, providing timely early warning information on seasonal climate forecasts, developing supportive policies and investments geared towards the uptake of climate-smart agriculture in order to improve crop production and achieve food security while contributing to a reduction in challenges posed by climate change.

Source: Kogo, B. K., Kumar, L., & Koech, R. (2021). Climate change and variability in Kenya: a review of impacts on agriculture and food security. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 23(1), 23-43.

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