Climate forecast information: the status, needs and expectations among smallholder agro-pastoralists in Machakos District, Kenya.

Citation:
Ngugi RK, Mureithi SM, Kamande PN. "Climate forecast information: the status, needs and expectations among smallholder agro-pastoralists in Machakos District, Kenya." Intern. J. Current Res. . 2011;6(11):006-012.

Abstract:

The potential use of seasonal climate forecasts in farm and resource management has been studied
in a number of cultural contexts around the world. Many of these studies reveal difficulties that
smallholders encounter in accessing, interpreting and applying forecasts for their own benefit. This
study looked at the awareness of and usage of climate forecast information in central Kenya in the
aftermath of the 1997/98 El Niño event. Household surveys were conducted in Machakos District,
Kenya, in January 2001. Retrospective and concurrent awareness and application of seasonal
forecast information was assessed for 240 households across a range of agro ecological zones. The
results show high degree of awareness and use of forecasts. Farmers discussed both actual and
potential application of forecasts for both above-normal and below-normal rainfall. The influence of
the El Niño tendency to increase the rainfall as in the case of 1997/98 El Niño was clear from their
emphasis on strategies to mitigate the impacts of above-or below-normal rainfall. Applications of
information in both crop and livestock management are documented. Constraints still exist, such as
interpretation of information, relevance of the variables forecast to the management decisions of
concern, confidence in the forecasts, and timely and affordable access to resources such as seeds.
We suggest that collaborative efforts between the forecast providers and the users of information
may be directed towards addressing these constraints. For instance in case of abnormal
phenomenon such as droughts or floods, forecasts can be closely followed by early warning
campaigns with clear guidelines of how to prepare, distributed through the FM radio in local
languages order to abate human suffering

Keywords: Climate forecast, Smallholders, Agro-pastoralists, El Niño, Kenya.

Website

UoN Websites Search