INFLUENCE OF DROUGHT VARIABILITY ON LIVESTOCK FEEDING PRACTICES BY MAASAI PASTORALISTS IN MAILWA SUB-LOCATION OF KAJIADO COUNTY, KENYA

ABSTRACT
All the regions of the world are vulnerable to climate change where droughts have become more unpredictable due to climate change. Effects droughts are felt most severely by the livestock based economies and livelihoods in the Kenyan Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) where rainfall amounts are low, erratic and unreliable. Pastoralism is a key production system in ASAL areas using extensive grazing for livestock production. While pastoralists in ASAL areas have adjusted their livestock feeding practices to cope with changes in droughts, their characteristic responses are less understood. There was need therefore, to establish the influence of drought variability on livestock feeding practices by Maasai pastoralists in Mailwa sub-location of Kajiado County. This area was purposively selected as it is inhabited mainly by the Maasai practicing pure pastoralism. The study used a descriptive research design. Population of the study consisted of 437 male and female household heads. Proportionate random sampling technique was used to select136 household heads comprising of both male and female. Data was collected using a semi-structured interview schedule and analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics with SPSS software (version 17). Chi-square was applied to test the hypotheses at 0.05 confidence level. Rainfall data from Maasai Rural Training Centre (MRTC) Isinya was analyzed using Microsoft Excel to give a general pattern of rainfall in the area for the last five decades. Results indicated that 87.5% of pastoralists traditionally used seasonal movement of livestock as a response to cope with drought in addition to herd splitting and livestock mix. On current livestock feeding practices, 97.8% practiced seasonal movement of livestock in addition to purchasing of commercial feeds and hay. On frequency of droughts, 98.5% had noticed an increase in frequency where droughts have become an annual occurrence. On duration of droughts, 97.8% had noticed an increase in the duration where droughts lasted for a period of 7-12 after onset. On changes in rainfall patterns, 99.3% had noted changes in rainfall patterns where onset of rainfall was no longer predictable. It can be concluded that seasonal movement of livestock in search of pasture and water used as a traditional coping strategy is still in place, frequency and duration of droughts in the area have increased while onset of rainfall is no longer predictable. The study recommend up scaling of traditional drought coping strategies related to livestock feeding, adoption of improved drought tolerant livestock breeds, development of more water harvesting facilities and policy interventions that that promote adoption of technologies that enhance harvesting and storage of grass hay.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background to the Study
All the regions of the world are vulnerable to climate change. According to International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources [IUCNNR]( 2010), the Mediterranean region has been experiencing a clear shift towards a warmer and dryer climate which is a threat to wildlife and people in the region. Climate change effects has also been felt in the coastal and marine ecosystems that are essential for supporting biodiversity and people’s livelihoods in Pacific Islands, Australia, and New Zealand which are connected by the Pacific Ocean. Extreme weather events in South America has resulted in increased rainfall in Venezuela, flooding in the Argentinean Pampas, drought in the Amazon and hail storms in Bolivia. Countries of Central and West Africa are particularly vulnerable to climate change especially arid and semi-arid zones which represent a large part of the region.

Impacts of a changing climate are already being felt in Kenya. These impacts include reduced food production due to erratic and unpredictable rainfall patterns, water scarcity, increasing temperatures that lead to spawning of disease vectors and diseases such as malaria to areas in which they are not traditionally prevalent, rising tides which threaten coastal cities, as well as frequent droughts and floods (Ochieng & Makaloo, 2010). Although drought affects the country as a whole, its effects are felt most severely by the livestock based economies and livelihoods in the Kenyan Arid and Semi-Arid Lands [ASALs]( Zwaagstra, Sharif, Wambile, Leeuw, Johnson, Njuki, Said, Ericksen & Herrero 2010). ASALs constitute about 83 percent of the total land mass in Kenya and are home to about ten million people where rainfall amounts are low, the timing erratic and unreliable. These areas are adversely affected by drought and the worsening effects of climate change, which have led to environmental degradation and drying up of water pans. According to Huho, Ngaira and Ogindo (2011), drought in Kenya is the most common hazard encountered by households on a widespread level in ASAL areas with the government having declared five drought related national disasters between 1993 and 2011. Droughts in these areas have increased in both frequency and intensity from once in ten years in the 1970s, to once in 5 years in 1980s, once in every 2-3 years in the 1990s and have become the norm since 2000.

Pastoralism is one of the key production systems in ASAL areas which use extensive grazing in rangelands for livestock production where the sub-sector in Kenya contributes for 10- 12 percent of Gross Domestic Product ([GDP]) and forming one third of the agricultural GDP (Mariara, 2008). Kajiado is classified as an ASAL area with high levels of food insecurity occasioned by persistent droughts. Average annual potential evaporation ranges from 1600 to 2200 mm which means that for the greater parts of the year there is a moisture deficit. Mailwa sub-location of Kajiado Central District, Kajiado County is inhabited mainly by the Maasai pastoralist community. According to Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (2010), Kajiado Central district livestock population consists of 95,534 cattle, 218,961 sheep, 270,148 goats, 472 camels and 31,564 donkeys. Kajiado District Annual Progress Report (2006/2007) indicates that vegetation cover is open grassland, wooded grassland, bushed grassland, wood and bush land which makes the area suitable for pastoralism. Pastoralism is the main livelihood for the Maasai community in the county but its sustainability is uncertain due to the influence of drought variability attributed to climate change. Maasai pastoralists keep livestock under extensive grazing system in which they move livestock from one area to another in search of pasture and water.

According to Ogeto (2007), pastoralists’ social structure and livestock husbandry is organized in such a way that ensures sustainability of their livelihood in their resource-poor environment. Their production system is characterized by mobility and flexibility to counter extreme environmental fluctuations. They keep many and diverse livestock that serve as social capital, insurance against disaster as well as ensuring optimum range utilization. Strategies that ensured sustainable rangeland utilization included milk production that support more people than meat, maintenance of dry season grazing reserves, mobility, livestock diversity, maximizing stock numbers, herds splitting, retention of animals past their prime age, maintenance of herds with a high proportion of females and social security through stock loans and redistribution. These strategies enabled pastoralist’s survival and maintenance of high biological diversity in rangelands. Success of pastoralism is mainly attributed to pastoralist’s pasture management techniques and the indigenous livestock breeds they keep. Climate variability and traditional adaptation strategies have long been part of pastoral production systems in the region. However, convergence of unprecedented levels of land use change coupled with increasing climate uncertainty is eroding the resilience of ecological and social systems alike (Ochieng & Makaloo, 2010). Feeding of livestock is still a major challenge to sustainable productivity of pastoral communities in the dry land areas in view of the current climate variability. The impacts of climate change such as higher temperature, erratic rainfall and floods are increasing the pastoralists’ inability to feed their animals leading to loss of a source of livelihood and food insecurity (Chibinga, Musimba, Nyangito, & Simbaya, 2012). Drought variability impacts on livestock feeding practices but the extent it does is not documented. This study was thus designed to provide the missing information on this phenomenon.

Statement of the Problem
The impacts of climate change such as higher temperature, erratic rainfall and floods are increasing the pastoralists’ inability to feed their animals leading to loss of a source of livelihood and food insecurity. Frequency and duration of droughts have increased which impacts on livestock feed resource but pastoralists coping responses are yet to be characterized. Pastoralists have adjusted their livestock feeding practices to cope but the characteristic responses among the pastoral Maasai community in Mailwa sub-location of Kajiado County are not well understood. A study of how Maasai pastoralists in Mailwa sub-location cope with drought variability in relation to livestock feeding practices was expected to give insights into livestock feeding challenges of pastoralists in Kenya that can be used to develop sustainable livestock feeding practices strategies. Thus the study sought to determine the influence of drought variability on livestock feeding practices among the Maasai pastoralists in Mailwa sub-location, Kajiado County.

Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the study was to establish the influence of drought variability on livestock feeding practices by the Maasai pastoralists in Mailwa sub-location, Kajiado County.

Objectives of the Study
The study was guided by the following specific objectives:-

i) To describe traditional and current livestock feeding practices by Maasai pastoralists in Mailwa sub-location, Kajiado County

ii) To establish the influence of frequency of droughts on livestock feeding practices in Mailwa sub-location, Kajiado County

iii) To establish the influence of duration of droughts on livestock feeding practices in Mailwa sub-location, Kajiado County

iv) To establish the influence of change in rainfall patterns on livestock feeding practices in Mailwa sub-location, Kajiado County

Hypotheses of the Study
Ho1: Frequency of droughts has no statistically significant influence on livestock feeding practices in Mailwa sub-location, Kajiado County

Ho2: Duration of droughts has no statistically significant influence on livestock feeding Practices in Mailwa sub-location, Kajiado County

Ho3: Change in rainfall patterns have no statistically signification influence on livestock feeding practices in Mailwa sub-location, Kajiado County

Significance of the Study
Pastoral livestock production systems are mostly found in Africa’s vast arid and semi-arid areas (African Union [AU], 2010). These systems despite their importance to pastoralists’ livelihoods are vulnerable to influence of drought variability. Understanding how drought variability influence livestock feeding practices is significant in that it is expected to influence policy on formulation of interventions that enhances pastoralists’ ability to adopt appropriate livestock feeding practices in view of drought variability. This study provides information on the awareness of Maasai pastoralists about changes in frequency and duration of droughts and changes in rainfall patterns as well of consequences on livestock feeding practices a result of drought variability. The study further established that despite changes introduced by drought variability, Maasai pastoralists continued to use traditional method such as livestock movement as the preferred livestock feeding practice in the area.

Scope and Limitations of the Study
The study focused on the influence of drought variability on livestock feeding practices of pastoralists in Mailwa sub-location in Kajiado Central District of Kajiado County and therefore the results cannot be generalized for other pastoralist areas.

Assumptions of the Study The study assumed that the respondents were ready and willing to participate in the study by providing honest and accurate information on the issues raised.

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Item Type: Kenyan Material  |  Attribute: 81 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: KSh900  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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