Farmers’ perspectives: Impact of climate change on African indigenous vegetable production in Kenya
This study (PDF) in the International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management aims to analyse how African indigenous vegetable (AIV) farmers perceive climate change in three different agro-climatic zones (ACZs) in Kenya, identify the main differences in historical seasonal and annual rainfall and temperature trends between the zones, discuss differences in farmers’ perceptions and historical trends and analyse the impact of these perceived changes and trends on yields, weeds, pests and disease infestation of AIV. Research showed that AIV farmers are aware that their area is getting warmer and drier. The main constraining factors identified in AIV production were increased temperatures, erratic rainfall patterns and inadequate rainfall. Farmers were aware of the moderate effect of climate on AIVs. The current volatility in rainfall patterns has made it difficult for farmers to plan their cropping calendar to suit the changes. Therefore, climate change (CC) adaptation programmes need to provide accurate projected weather patterns to farmers. Furthermore, farmer’s perceptions were significantly associated with their ACZs. Severity of pests and disease are more prevalent in dry than wet season. Too much rain and frequent dry spell conditions caused by CC alter the manifestation of pests and manifestation of diseases and growth of new weeds. This has resulted in lower yields for AIVs. Farmers should be made aware of the use of pesticides sustainably. The changes in severity of diseases also calls for more resistant cultivars of the AIVs. This could be designed with programmes aimed at ensuring that farmers benefit from opportunities. It is important to ensure that farmers gain access to good quality and affordable resistant seed varieties. Farmer’s perceptions and observed trends should be communicated to policy makers, which will provide a pathway for effective planning of context-specific adaptations and climate communication programmes. Further research is recommended to ascertain the quantity of yield losses because of pests, disease and CC.