Advertisement

The European Journal of Development Research

, Volume 22, Issue 5, pp 623–642 | Cite as

Drought Coping and Adaptation Strategies: Understanding Adaptations to Climate Change in Agro-pastoral Livestock Production in Makueni District, Kenya

  • Chinwe Ifejika Speranza
Original Article

Abstract

Using drought as a lens, this article analyses how agro-pastoralists in Makueni district, Kenya adapt their livestock production to climate variability and change. Data were collected from a longitudinal survey of 127 agro-pastoral households. Approximately one-third of the households have inadequate feeds, and livestock diseases are major challenges during non-drought and drought periods. Agro-pastoralists’ responses to drought are reactive and mainly involve intensifying exploitation of resources and the commons. Proactive responses such as improving production resources are few. Poverty, limited responses to market dynamics and inadequate skills constrain adaptations. Many agro-pastoralists’ attachment to livestock deters livestock divestment, favouring disadvantageous sales that result in declining incomes. To improve adaptive capacity, interventions should expose agro-pastoralists to other forms of savings, incorporate agro-pastoralists as agents of change by building their capacity to provide extension services, and maintain infrastructure. Securing livestock mobility, pasture production and access is crucial under the variable social-ecological conditions.

En se servant de la sécheresse comme point de départ, cet article analyse comment les agro-pastoralistes du district de Makueni au Kenya adaptent leurs moyens de subsistance à la variabilité et au changement climatiques. Il s′appuie sur des données issues d′une enquête longitudinale auprès de 127 ménages agro-pastoraux. Environ un tiers des ménages ont des animaux mal nourris, et l′état de santé du bétail est un problème majeur aussi bien en temps de sécheresse qu′en absence de sècheresse. Les actions adoptées par les éleveurs en réponse à la sécheresse sont réactives et consistent essentiellement en une intensification de l′exploitation des ressources et des biens communaux, et peu en des mesures pro-actives telles que l′amélioration des ressources de production. La pauvreté de ces populations, leurs réponses imparfaites aux dynamiques de marché et leur manque de compétences limitent leur capacité d′adaptation. Le fort attachement de nombreux éleveurs au bétail les empêche de se désengager de l′élevage; ceci mène à des ventes de bétail défavorables aux éleveurs et entraîne un déclin de leurs revenus. Afin d′améliorer leur capacité d′adaptation, des interventions devraient être entreprises pour exposer les agro-pastoralistes à d′autres formes d′épargne. En outre, la capacité des éleveurs à fournir des services de vulgarisation agricole et à maintenir les infrastructures doit être développée. Dans un contexte de variabilité socio-écologique, il est crucial d′assurer la mobilité du bétail, ainsi que la production de pâturages et leur accessibilité.

Keywords

drought agro-pastoralists climate variability climate change adaptation Kenya 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The author acknowledges support from the Volkswagen Foundation and the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South: Research Partnerships for Mitigating Syndromes of Global Change, cofounded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). I thank Tobias Hagmann, Gilbert Fokou and Henri Rueff for commenting on previous versions, and the two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.

References

  1. Akong'a, J. and Downing, T.E. (1985) Smallholder vulnerability and response to drought in Central and Eastern Kenya. In: National Environment Secretariat (ed.) Climatic Variability and Agricultural Production in Central and Eastern Kenya. Nairobi, Kenya: National Environment Secretariat, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources.Google Scholar
  2. Ambenje, P. (2000) Eastern and Southern Africa Drought Monitoring Centre, Nairobi, Kenya. In: World Meteorological Organisation (ed.) Early Warning Systems for Drought Preparedness and Drought Management, Proceedings of an Expert Group Meeting; 5–7 September 2000, Lisbon, Portugal (WMO/TD No. 1037).Google Scholar
  3. Anyango, J.G. et al (1989) Drought vulnerability in Central and Eastern Kenya. In: T.E. Downing, K.W. Gitu and C.M. Kamau (eds.) Coping with Drought in Kenya. National and Local Strategies. London: Lynne Rienner Publishers, pp. 169–210,, ISBN 1-55587-151-8.Google Scholar
  4. CETRAD. (2004) Makueni Drought Monitoring Project: Baseline Survey. Nanyuki, Kenya: Centre for training and integrated research in arid and semi-arid lands development.Google Scholar
  5. Christensen, J.H. et al (2007) Regional climate projections. In: S. Solomon and et al (eds.) Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis, Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Cambridge, UK; New York, USA: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Cinnamond, A. and Eregae, M. (2003) Community-based animal health workers in pastoralist areas of Kenya: A study on selection processes, impact and sustainability, ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/010/ag277e/ag277e.pdf.
  7. Daily Nation Newspaper. (2009) Drought-hit Kenya declares national disaster. 17 January.Google Scholar
  8. Ellis, F. and Freeman, H.A. (2004) Rural livelihoods and poverty reduction strategies in four African countries. Journal of Development Studies 40 (4): 1–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hulme, M., Doherty, R., Ngara, T., New, M. and Lister, D. (2001) African climate change: 1900–2100. Climate Research (17): 145–168.Google Scholar
  10. Ifejika Speranza, C. (2006) Drought vulnerability and risk in agro-pastoral areas. An integrative approach and its application in Kenya. PhD thesis, University of Bern, Switzerland.Google Scholar
  11. Ifejika Speranza, C., Kiteme, B., Ambenje, P., Wiesmann, U. and Makali, S. (2010) Indigenous knowledge related to climate variability and change: Insights from droughts in semi-arid areas of former Makueni District, Kenya. Climatic Change 100 (2): 295–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). (2009) Emergency Appeal. Kenya. Drought Emergency Appeal no. MDRKE009, GLIDE no. DR-2009-000197-KEN, 17 September, http://www.kenyaredcross.org/images/pdf%27s/MDRKE009_Kenya%20drought_Emergenc_%20Appeal.pdf.
  13. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). (2007a) Climate Change 2007: IPCC Fourth Assessment Report. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Annex 1 – Glossary, http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-annexes.pdf.
  14. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). (2007b) Guidance notes for lead authors of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report on addressing uncertainties, http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/supporting-material/uncertainty-guidance-note.pdf.
  15. Jaetzold, R. and Schmidt, H. (1983) Farm Management Handbook of Kenya, Vol. II/C, East Kenya, Nairobi: Government of Kenya.Google Scholar
  16. Jones, P.G. and Thornton, P.K. (2009) Croppers to livestock keepers: Livelihood transitions to 2050 in Africa due to climate change. Environmental Science & Policy 12 (4): 427–437.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kiteme, B.P. (2009) Agricultural Extension Services and Adaptation to Climate Change in Kenya. German Development Institute Bonn, Germany. Draft Report, June.Google Scholar
  18. Le Blanc, D. and Perez, R. (2008) The relationship between rainfall and human density and its implications for future water stress in Sub-Saharan Africa. Ecological Economics 66 : 319–336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Mbogoh, S. (2000) Makueni District Profile: Crop Production and Marketing, 1988–1999. Crewkerne, Somerset, UK. Drylands Research Working Paper 7.Google Scholar
  20. McPeak, J. (2004) Contrasting income shocks with asset shocks: Livestock sales in Northern Kenya. Oxford Economic Papers 56 (2004): 263–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Moritz, M. (2008) Competing paradigms in pastoral development? A perspective from the Far North of Cameroon. World Development 36 (11): 2243–2254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Morton, J. and Barton, D. (2002) Destocking as a drought–mitigation strategy: Clarifying rationales and answering critiques. Disasters 26 (3): 213–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Mwacharo, J.M. and Drucker, A.G. (2005) Production objectives and management strategies of livestock keepers in South-East Kenya: Implications for a breeding programme. Tropical Animal Health and Production 37 (2005): 635–652.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Oba, G. (2001) The effect of multiple droughts on cattle in Obbu, Northern Kenya. Journal of Arid Environments 49 (2): 375–386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Ogallo, L.J. (1994) Interannual variability of the East African monsoon wind systems and their impact on East African climate. WMO/TD 619: 99–104.Google Scholar
  26. Powell, J.M., Pearson, R.A. and Hiernaux, P.H. (2004) Crop-livestock interactions in the West African drylands. Agronomy Journal 96: 469–483.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Republic of Kenya (RoK). (2002) First National Communication of Kenya to the Conference of the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Nairobi, Kenya: Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, National Environment Secretariat, http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/natc/kennc1.pdf.
  28. Republic of Kenya (RoK). (2005) Makueni District strategic plan 2005–2010 for Implementation of the National Population Policy for Sustainable Development, http://www.ncapd-ke.org/UserFiles/File/District%20Strategic%20Plans/Makueni%20FINAL%20Modified.pdf.
  29. Republic of Kenya (RoK). (2007a) Draft sessional paper no … of 2006 on dairy industry development. Ministry of livestock and fisheries development, http://www.livestock.go.ke/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&gid=2&Itemid=98.
  30. Republic of Kenya (RoK). (2007b) Vision 2030. Nairobi, Kenya: Republic of Kenya.Google Scholar
  31. Republic of Kenya (RoK). (2008) Draft Sessional Paper No. 2 of 2008 on National Livestock Policy. Nairobi, Kenya: Republic of Kenya.Google Scholar
  32. Schreck, C.J. and Semazzi, F.H.M. (2004) Variability of the recent climate of Eastern Africa. International Journal of Climatology 24: 681–701.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Sivakumar, M.V.K., Das, H.P. and Brunini, O. (2005) Impacts of present and future climate variability and change on agriculture and forestry in the arid and semi-arid Tropics. Climatic Change 70 (1–2): 31–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Sombroek, W.G., Braun, H.M.H. and Van der Pouw, B.J.A. (1982) Exploratory soil map and agro-climatic zone map of Kenya. Exploratory soil survey report, No. E 1, Kenya Soil Survey, Nairobi 1982. Nairobi: Ministry of Agriculture – National Agricultural Laboratories, Republic of Kenya. Nairobi, http://library.wur.nl/isric/fulltext/isricu_i00006336_001.03.pdf.
  35. Sperling, L. (1989) Food acquisition by the Samburu herders during the drought of 1983/84. In: T.E. Downing, K.W. Gitu and C.M. Kamau (eds.) Coping with Drought in Kenya. National and Local Strategies. London: Lynne Rienner Publishers, pp. 264–279, ISBN 1-55587-151-8.Google Scholar
  36. Swift, J. (1989) Planning against drought and famine in Turkana: A district contingency plan. In: T.E. Downing, K.W. Gitu and C.M. Kamau (eds.) Coping with Drought in Kenya. National and Local Strategies. London: Lynne Rienner Publishers, pp. 306–328, ISBN 1-55587-151-8.Google Scholar
  37. Thornton, P.K., van de Steeg, J., Notenbaert, A. and Herrero, M. (2009) The impacts of climate change on livestock and livestock systems in developing countries: A review of what we know and what we need to know. Agricultural Systems 101 (2009): 113–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Tiffen, M., Mortimore, M. and Gichuki, F. (1994) More People, Less Erosion. Environmental Recovery in Kenya. London: ODI, ISBN 9966-41-082-1.Google Scholar
  39. USAID FEWS NET. (2008) The USAID FEWS NET weather hazards impacts assessment for Africa. 11–17 December, http://www.fews.net/docs/Publications/afr_Dec11_2008.pdf.

Copyright information

© European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chinwe Ifejika Speranza
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Centre for Training and Integrated Research for Arid and Semi-arid Lands Development (CETRAD)NanyukiKenya
  2. 2.University of BernBernSwitzerland
  3. 3.German Development InstituteBonnGermany

Personalised recommendations