Climate change exacerbates the already daunting challenge facing the agricultural sector, and this is particularly the case in developing countries. There are roughly 800 million food insecure people in the world today, each having this status because food is unavailable, unaffordable or they are too unhealthy to make use of it or some combination of the three. Innovations in agriculture will even be more vital in the context of climate change as they allow farmers to adapt efficiently to the changing climate. Assessing the potential effect of climate change on food production requires understanding the underlying determinants of climate change adaptation strategies and how they have affected smallholder farming. This study done in Bungoma County, undertook to evaluate climate change adaptation strategies and their effect on food production. The theories of utility, stated and revealed preference were used in the study. Random sampling method was used to select a sample of 150 smallholder farmers. Structured questionnaires and Participatory Rural Appraisal approach were the techniques used to collect data. The method of data analysis was both qualitative and quantitative where descriptive statistics was used to analyse the first two objectives which were to identify indigenous and emerging climate change strategies in the study area. Multinomial Logit Model was used to analyse the last two objectives of evaluating socio – economic and institutional factors influencing choice of climate change adaptation strategies.The study identified various indigenous and emerging adaptation strategies and evaluated socio-economic and institutional factors influencing the choice of these strategies. Mulching and soil fertility management were the most common indigenous and emerging strategies respectively. Quality extension services, credit facilities and access to information were vital in facilitating adaptation of better and affordable climate change coping strategies which enhances small holder‟s food production. Unpredictable rainfall pattern and high temperatures were found to have adversely affected food production and rural livelihoods. Adaptations outside of agriculture are also important for livelihood diversification and increasing resilience to climate variability in study area. Government, research institutions and stakeholder need to provide climate change information to farmers through training and extension services. Research, trainings and extension on climate change issues should be provided by both the public and private sectors as they are crucial in ensuring farmers adapt to climate change. Investments in infrastructure such as roads and irrigation systems, affordable credit schemes, and climate information systems would help create the enabling conditions for adaptation to climate change.

Background Information 
Climate change has emerged as one of the defining scientific, political and socioeconomic issues of the twenty-first century. Due to the enormity of likely repercussions of a changing climate on human and natural systems, it has become a matter that man need to understand and respond to. Due to of its complexity climate change, has attracted diverse efforts covering the full spectrum of scientific, economic, social, and political disciplines. Anita et al. (2010) argues that the major aim in this climate change debate is to identify options for reducing the extent and effects of future climate change. Of great importance is the need to reduce the effects of climate change on agriculture as Kurukulasuriya et al. (2003) have explained, climate change can affect agriculture in three different ways. First, changes in temperature and precipitation can directly affect crop production and can even alter the distribution of agro-ecological zones. Second, runoff or water availability is critical in determining the impact of climate change on crop production. Lastly, agricultural losses can result from climate variability and the increased frequency of changes in temperatures and precipitation (including droughts and floods). Through these effects, climate change can lead to erosion of the developments that people have in the past made in response effects of climate change on agriculture. Agarwal et al. (1997) note that climate change has resulted in some loses in biodiversity of domesticated crops as well as of dry land management and water harvesting techniques. Yet, in times of disaster and climate change people‟s defence lie in diversity of cultivated crops and their varieties of wild plant. Other defence mechanisms are migration, irrigation, water conservation techniques and reclamation. 

Combined, all these factors imply that climate change has the potential of enhancing the problems of food insecurity, with important implications on availability, accessibility and utilization of food items. The negative potential effects of climate change suggest the importance of integrating climate change adaptation strategies to agricultural policies. It is important to promote strategies which maintain or increase the resilience of farming systems. Effective integration of adaptation and mitigation may result in lower overall cost of food production. Because some climate impacts are immediate and may affect the financial viability of an agricultural producer in the short run, in contrast with the long term impact that mitigation addresses, adaptation decisions are likely to take precedence over mitigation decisions (Rowenzweig et al., 2007). 

Adaptation to Climate Change 
Inter-Governmental Panel of Climate Change, IPCC (2001) describes adaptation to climate change as the adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities. Common adaptation strategies in agriculture include use of new crop varieties and livestock breeds that are better suited to current climatic conditions. Kurukulasuriya et al. (2008) outlines other strategies as irrigation, crop diversification, adoption of mixed crop and livestock farming systems and changing planting dates. 

Climate change adaptation strategies are characterized by adjustment in ecological, social or economic systems in response to observed or expected changes in climatic stimuli and their effects and impacts in order to alleviate adverse impacts of change or take advantage of new opportunities. Adaptation can therefore involve building adaptive capacity, thereby increasing the ability of individuals, groups, or organizations to adapt to changes and implementing adaptations decisions, that is, transforming that capacity into actions. Hence adaptations strategies are continuous stream of activities, actions, decisions and attitudes that informs decisions about all aspects of life, and that reflect existing social norms and processes. Anita et al. (2010) points out that some adaptations occurs without explicit recognition of changing risk, while other adaptations incorporate specific climate information and decisions. Since unintentional adaptation has the capacity to reduce the effectiveness of purposeful adaptation, the integration of adaptation actions and policies across sectors remain a key challenge to achieve effective adaptation in practice. 

Studies indicate that Africa‟s agriculture is negatively affected by climate change as argued by Pearce et al. (1996). The World Bank (2008) also notes that Sub-Saharan Africa is currently the most food-insecure region in the world. Climate change could aggravate the situation further unless adequate measures are put in place. For smallholder farmers in Kenya, environmental and social consequences of climate change especially put their livelihoods at risk. In the recent past in Bungoma County, as described in Provincial Director of Agriculture, PDA (2010) farmers have tried to use indigenous knowledge to adapt to the climatic changes and the adaptation strategies that are in place have not shown meaningful improvement and smallholder farmers continue to get less and less yields each year.

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Item Type: Kenyan Topic  |  Size: 61 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.


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