Environment, Development and Sustainability

, Volume 20, Issue 6, pp 2663–2680 | Cite as

Climate change perceptions and adaptations of smallholder farmers in Eastern Kenya

  • Edith Afandi KichamuEmail author
  • John Safari Ziro
  • Gomathy Palaniappan
  • Helen Ross


Several studies have indicated the importance of understanding farmers’ perceptions of risks associated with climate change, the adaptation strategies they employ and factors that affect adaptive capacity. This study aimed to understand smallholder farmers’ perceptions of climate change, adaptation strategies and adaptive capacity in the semiarid Matungulu Sub-County, Eastern Kenya. A participatory approach, using three climate roundtables, was conducted to enhance community participation and understanding of climate change issues. The study showed that farmers’ perceptions concerning climate change are influenced by past experiences of weather extremes that have affected production levels and farm incomes. The farmers have made strategic responses to manage risks posed by climate change. However, they face several challenges in adaptation such as inadequate technical knowledge, low financial resources and inadequate land size. Further, the study showed that climate roundtables is a successful participatory approach that can give effective insights for smallholder farmers to understand agricultural vulnerability, climate change and their adaptation strategies.


Climate change Adaptation Adaptive capacity Climate roundtables 



The first author’s work was funded by an Australia Award and the University of Queensland’s School of Agriculture and Food Sciences. We thank the participants in the three climate roundtables, the Matungulu Sub-County agricultural officers and field extension staff for their support before and during the roundtable process.


The study was funded by the first author’s scholarship from Australia Awards (Grant No. ST000ED81) and University of Queensland (Grant No. 43369861).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

Human and animal participants

The research involved human participants and was conducted under ethical approval from the School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, The University of Queensland. Written informed consent was provided by the participants prior to participation in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Agriculture and Food SciencesThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Ministry of AgricultureMachakosKenya
  3. 3.Ministry of AgricultureKwaleKenya

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