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University of Amsterdam (2014)

Climate Variability : an entry point to assess vulnerability of small-holder farmers in Samia District, in Western Kenya

Papoutsi G.

Titre : Climate Variability : an entry point to assess vulnerability of small-holder farmers in Samia District, in Western Kenya

Auteur : Papoutsi G.

Université de soutenance : University of Amsterdam

Grade : International Development Studies Research Master Thesis 2014

Résumé _ Climate variability is predominantly challenging in rainfed agricultural systems, such as those found in the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa and more specifically in Kenya. One main cause of variability is the El Niño Southern Oscillation (Stige et al. 2006 ; Giannini et al. 2008). The ENSO phenomenon causes high season-to-season variability and adds to small-holder farmers’ difficulty in deciding how to plan and manage their seasonal activities (Morton 2007), increasing their livelihood insecurity. Several studies assess livelihoods through the construction of vulnerability indexes (Hahn et al., 2009 ; Fraser et al., 2011). Following this line of thought, this study uses the bottom-up approach of sustainable livelihoods in combination with a vulnerability assessment index. The research question that is addressed is how climate variability has affected the livelihood strategies of vulnerable small-holder farmers over a recent five-year period (2008-2012) in Samia in Western Kenya. Using meteorological data, household survey data and multiple participatory tools, this study explores and assesses the characteristics that make Samians vulnerable to climate variability, and delves into local perceptions with regards to climate variability, focusing on the social capital (participation in social groups, access to and use of information) of small-holder farmers. Results show that local communities experience different levels of vulnerability to climate variability based on their access to the capital assets of sustainable livelihoods approach, (social, human, and physical, financial and natural capital). Moreover, the analysis indicates that the official meteorological data do not coincide with farmers’ perceptions. Social capital is found to be catalytic on farmers’ perceptions. Overall the findings suggest that policy makers, development practitioners and meteorological services need to proceed on interventions that target assets, mainstream climate variability adaptation strategies, strengthen social capital and enhance channels of dissemination of weather information (other than social networks) to the vulnerable farmers at the local level.

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Page publiée le 10 avril 2021