CLIMATE CHANGE AND AGRICULTURE IN KENYA: POSSIBLE IMPACTS ON MAIZE PRODUCTION
The study aimed to explore how climate change generally influences agriculture and in particular maize production in Kenya. After establishing the level of change in the climatological elements (rainfall and temperature) expected in Kenya from published literature material, an attempt was made to discuss the impacts of this change on the productivity of maize. In the analysis, the study employed empirical data and review of relevant literature material. The secondary data of national annual average maize yield and meteorological data (growing season average rainfall (raings) and annual average temperature (tempav)), obtained from FAOSTAT and Kenya Meteorological Department respectively, were subjected to multiple regression to generate a model for yield projection. Further, three bands (33th Percentiles) of tempav were plotted against raings and yield to find any relationship in the different temperature ranges.
The findings indicate that currently, the main driver of maize production is rainfall (influencing up to 30% of maize yield) as correlation between maize yield and annual average temperature was insignificant. However, the model showed that even the slightest temperature increase will have major impacts on maize yield. Deductions from the model indicate that, with all factors constant, a temperature increment of 1.5 °C would result to 18% decrease in maize yield. The study further shows that a 1°C increase in temperature will negatively affect maize yield three times more than 100 mm rainfall increase. Lastly, the study recommends that although Kenya has set up the necessary legislation and policy framework to combat climate change, the effective and timely implementation of the same is imperative.
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