Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Assessing the Impact of Climate Variability on Food Security in Kenya: A Case Study of Kisii County

Version 1 : Received: 27 January 2018 / Approved: 8 February 2018 / Online: 8 February 2018 (15:59:16 CET)

How to cite: Samwel, M.P.; Abutto, B.A.; Otieno, V. Assessing the Impact of Climate Variability on Food Security in Kenya: A Case Study of Kisii County. Preprints 2018, 2018020072 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201802.0072.v1). Samwel, M.P.; Abutto, B.A.; Otieno, V. Assessing the Impact of Climate Variability on Food Security in Kenya: A Case Study of Kisii County. Preprints 2018, 2018020072 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201802.0072.v1).

Abstract

Climate variability and change has been found to be one of the factors that affect economies leading to food insecurity in various parts of the world. Kenya is no exception. This study looks at how climate variability has contributed to food insecurity in Kisii County, Kenya. The objectives of this study is therefore to, (i) to examine the rainfall and temperature trends in Kisii County for a period of approximately 30 years, (ii) to examine the effect of climate variability on food production and (iii) to assess the perception of local farmers on weather and climate information, (iv) to evaluate the coping strategies adopted at to bridge the gap on food deficit at different household level and (v) to assess the nutritional status of children and the elderly. The study was conducted in two sub-counties of Kisii County; Marani and Bomachoge Chache. The data used was mainly rainfall and temperature data from meteorological stations and sample data gathered from selected groups. The study population comprised of children between 6 months and 59 months, household heads, elderly people and agricultural officers. Purposive sampling was used to select agricultural officers while multistage sampling was used to select respondents at household level. Data was collected by use of a pre-tested questionnaire. The MUAC tape was used to collect nutritional status of children while BMI data was obtained from elderly people. Mann Kendall statistic was used to determine whether the trend of rainfall and temperature observed is significant while Chi-square test was used to determine whether the coping strategies observed varied significantly at household level. From the analysis, rainfall has not shown any significant change in Kisii County while temperature trend has been significantly increasing over the years at 95% confidence level. This could explain the observed reduction in river levels. Analysis of crop production and price trends of major food crops in Kisii County showed a decreasing trend of food production leading to increase in price over the years. This meant that farmers could not produce enough to take them to the next harvesting season making farmers to adopt different coping strategies at household level which differed significantly according to Chi-Square test. Malnutrition status of both elderly people above 59 years and children between 6-59 months were similar with 23% of both children/elderly being severely malnourished/malnourished. This study has only looked at climatic factors such as rainfall and temperature. Other aspects such as depth of underground water, ph level of soil and the effects of land fragmentation also need to be looked at. This study is important to both farmers in choosing the right crop to plant, and policy makers and planners in formulating the best mitigation and intervention strategies for Kisii County food insecurity problem. This will further contribute to national efforts towards achievement of vision 2030.

Subject Areas

Climate Variability; Food Security; Climate Change Adaptation; Malnutrition

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