Sharon Kinyanjui

Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology

BSc. Agricultural Economics and Rural Development

School of Agriculture and Resource Economics.


Mitigation Strategies for Climate Change Adaptation within the Agricultural Sector in Kenya

Agriculture has remained among the Kenyan economy’s most critical components, contributing up to 25.9% of its Gross Domestic Product per year. This is because the sector not only provides food security for the country but also employment in rural and urban areas. In recent years, climate change has emerged as the greatest threat to agricultural production within the country. Research conducted on various parts of the country reveals the fact that there are significant changes in climatic conditions within the country now more than ever before. For instance, records show that there has been an increase in average temperature in semi-arid areas becoming arid areas and incapable of accommodating any farming activities. Other changes include the desertification of faring land, intense heat waves, and extreme rainfall leading to floods among other factors.

The notable reality of agriculture is its dependence on weather patterns to succeed. Climate change has however made climatic conditions extreme and unpredictable reducing production. The variability of climatic conditions poses a great threat to the livelihood of farmers who often rely on agriculture as their main source of income. When the temperatures are extremely high, smallholders incur losses that discourage them from investing in farming reducing the overall production within the country. Smallholder farmers are the main contributors to increased agricultural production within the country. Unfortunately, most living in rural areas often rely on rainfed agriculture and are not equipped to invest in Climate-smart agricultural practices. In Kenya, the majority of smallholder farmers in rural areas remain vulnerable to harsh climatic conditions.

While income diversification may provide them with the security and extra income for investment into water storage facilities and irrigation, most lack the resources to do so. The first step towards combating climate change is research and the creation of awareness. The Kenyan government has begun several initiatives for the cause. The main challenge for farmers in rural areas is a lack of education on the implementation of advanced farming methods that increase production while reducing overreliance on rainfall. Since climate change is predicted to worsen the climatic state for most areas, finding solutions is the only option for increased production within the agricultural sector. Measures that need to be implemented towards combating climate change include the introduction of a variety of seeds for drought-resistant crops and the implementation of water harvesting techniques. Experts on the climatic conditions should guide the farmers on the weather predictions to prepare them and manage losses.

Most crops require moisture often in the form of rainfall to grow. While it is possible to conduct farming with minimal rainfall, water is still significant for most. Farmers in arid and semi-arid areas should be educated on various irrigation techniques as well as water harvesting. The investment of agricultural associations and the government in educating farmers on advanced farming methods while financing new technology is bound to increase production significantly(Ochieng, Kirimi, & Mathenge, 2016). Finances play a big role in determining the end game for most farmers in their adaptation to the climatic changes that are their reality today. While looking at the bigger picture, it is easy to undermine the role of smallholders in the overall success of the agricultural sector. If action is not taken towards improving the farming practices for smallholders in Kenya, the overall food security and income of the country are at stake.

The government as well as agricultural organizations have undertaken several projects to minimize risk for farmers and reduce the impact of climate change on agricultural production. The changing of planting dates, the inclusion of safety nets, social networking, and the construction of dykes and water catchment areas provide smallholders with minimized risk of investment for smallholders in Kenya. Ultimately, the battle against climate change in the agricultural sector cannot be overcome in a day, but with education and investment in mitigation strategies Agricultural advancement can be preserved.


Ochieng, J., Kirimi, L., & Mathenge, M. (2016). Effects of climate variability and change on agricultural production: The case of small scale farmers in Kenya. NJAS – Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences, 71-78.

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