Journal of Geography, Environment and Earth Science International, ISSN: 2454-7352,Vol.: 13, Issue.: 2
Agro-pastoralist Perceptions about the Impacts of Rainfall Variability on Livelihoods in the Lowlands of Marakwet West Sub-County, Kenya
Maiyo B. Toroitich1*, Mironga John1 and Were Edmond1 1Kisii University, Kenya.
Maiyo B. Toroitich1*, Mironga John1 and Were Edmond1
1Kisii University, Kenya.
(1) Badiora Adewumi Israel, Dept. of Urban & Regional Planning, College of Environmental Design & Management, Wesley University, Nigeria.
(1) Evelyn Jane Mutunga, South Eastern Kenya University, Kenya.
(2) Charles W. Recha, Egerton University, Kenya.
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For farmers to decide whether or not to adopt a particular measure, they must first perceive that rainfall variability has actually occurred. It is necessary to have full knowledge of farmers’ perception on rainfall variability. Therefore, the present study sought to understand agro-pastoralist perceptions of rainfall variability and its effect on their livelihoods. The study adopted a descriptive survey design that incorporated both quantitative and qualitative approaches. Stratified random sampling was done to sample respondents for household survey. This consisted of 310 household heads. Structured questionnaires, field observations and secondary data were used to collect data. The data from interview schedules was analyzed using content analysis, described and summarized. Results show that majority of the households had noticed variations in rainfall and its impact on their livelihoods. They perceived that rainfall variability to be increasing causing food shortages (82%), poor crop yields (72%), water scarcity (64%) and reduced livestock holdings (60%). Consequently, households had adopted both on-farm and off-farm. At farm level, diversification into drought-tolerant and commercial crops (80%) reduced livestock numbers (78%) timing farm operations (76%) and changing to heat-tolerant breeds (60%) were the main strategies adopted by the respondents. Off-farm strategies included observing early signs of weather (50%), terminating schooling for children (39%) and diversifying income sources into mainly charcoal burning (34%) and sand harvesting (31%). Therefore, to secure livelihoods and improve food security in the lowlands of Marakwet West Sub-County, rain-fed agriculture needs to be complemented with irrigation agriculture and water harvesting techniques.
Livelihood; rainfall variability; perception; agro-pastoralist.
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