Farmers urged to spearhead climate change adaptation efforts in Kenya’s drylands 

Agriculture Counties Editor's Pick Nairobi

With the ongoing effects of climate change which include frequent floods and droughts, farmers in Kenya’s dry lands are being urged to adopt climate smart agriculture which would reduce the adverse effects of global warming.

The Accelerating Impact of CGIAR Climate Research for Africa Project (AICCRA) has emphasized on the critical need for farmers to access precise real-time climate information to effectively plan their agricultural activities.

Phoebe Mwangangi, an early adopter of climate smart agriculture from Makueni County, observed that there has been significant climate changes over her 20 years of farming, during which she has experienced longer and hotter dry seasons that devastated her crops.

“After several failed maize crop seasons, it was not common for us to expect anything from the farm, but after training from CGIAR AICCRA, suddenly I can feed my family and have some crop left for sale,” she said.

Speaking in Nairobi on Tuesday during a Public Forum on Climate change in Kenya’s dry lands, Mwangangi said that the training and partnership has helped farmers in improving their farm output and increasing their incomes.

“We are now using drought tolerant crops and also climate smart agriculture innovations and we have noticed tremendous changes in our farms,” she said.

She added that they have been practicing ripping minimum soil disturbance, mulching and basins and the crops were doing well.

“When effects of climate change struck us, we used to harvest only one bag of 90 kilograms of green grams per acre, but with innovative agriculture we are now harvesting four bags of 90 kilograms of green grams per acre and the community is now food secure,” explained Mwangangi.

She said that the innovations have benefited her community and her as an individual adding that she was excited seeing how the community was taking up the innovations.

Mwangangi said that AICCRA has been providing them with certified seeds thus earning the farmers certified yields.

World Bank Senior Agriculture Economist Katie Freeman said Kenya was not on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG’s) as she is way further than she was in 2015 stating that the progress is moving backwards.

“The World Bank is addressing fragility in food insecurity through investments in both short term response and medium to long term food resilience,” she said.

Freeman said that The World Bank’s new vision is to eliminate extreme poverty on a livable planet.

She said that for agriculture, it means making food production more sustainable and resilient, and in particular adapting to climate change for continued production in the future.

Additionally, she said that The World Bank with support from governments across Africa has a huge agenda to reduce food insecurity across the continent and make African farmers more flexible to the impacts on climate change.

“We cannot in the Third World simply borrow or buy science from those that are ahead of us. We must innovate our own local solutions,” she said.

By Joyce Karanja and Rebecca Wairimu

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