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Rain-fed agriculture and climate change: an analysis of the most appropriate planting dates in central division of laikipia district, Kenya

Author: 
Julius M. Huho
Subject Area: 
Social Sciences and Humanities
Abstract: 

Frequent and severe droughts are evidences of climate change in Kenya. The severe effects of droughts on rural livelihoods have prompted many studies on climate change and its effects on human activities such as farming. However, farmers practicing rain-fed agriculture in the semi arid areas of Kenya still suffer from the wrath of droughts despite the well documented research findings and recommendations. Such studies have been conducted in Central Division of the semi arid areas of Laikipia District but farmers still face faced food insecurity caused by droughts. In attempt to analyze analyze the cause of continued food insecurity in Central Division the study evaluated the planting dates for rain-fed crop farmers between 1975 and 2005 and suggested the most appropriate planting dates for the farmers in order to minimise the risk of crop failure. Using Instate Plus v 3.36 statistical software the study established that the median planting dates from the bold and cautious farmers were 6th and 16th of April respectively farmers (early planters) were 16th of March to 10th of April for the cautious farmers (late planters). The risks from replanting were higher for the cautious farmers at 26.6% than for the bold farmers at 19.4%. The most appropriate time for planting in Central Division was from mid March to 10th of April. The results of the study gave an insight to crop farmers in the study area on the risks of early or late season planting under the changing climate and thus make informed decisions on when to plant.

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