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Egerton University (2014)

Influence of drought variability on livestock feeding practices by Maasai Pastoralists in Mailwa Sub-Location of Kajiado County, Kenya

Gikaba, James M. 

Titre : Influence of drought variability on livestock feeding practices by Maasai Pastoralists in Mailwa Sub-Location of Kajiado County, Kenya

Auteur : Gikaba, James M. 

Université de soutenance : Egerton University

Grade : Master of Science Degree in Community Studies and Extension (2014)

Résumé
All the regions of the world are vulnerable to climate change where droughts have become more unpredictable due to climate change. Effects droughts are felt most severely by the livestock based economies and livelihoods in the Kenyan Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) where rainfall amounts are low, erratic and unreliable. Pastoralism is a key production system in ASAL areas using extensive grazing for livestock production. While pastoralists in ASAL areas have adjusted their livestock feeding practices to cope with changes in droughts, their characteristic responses are less understood. There was need therefore, to establish the influence of drought variability on livestock feeding practices by Maasai pastoralists in Mailwa sub-location of Kajiado County. This area was purposively selected as it is inhabited mainly by the Maasai practicing pure pastoralism. The study used a descriptive research design. Population of the study consisted of 437 male and female household heads. Proportionate random sampling technique was used to select136 household heads comprising of both male and female. Data was collected using a semi-structured interview schedule and analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics with SPSS software (version 17). Chi-square was applied to test the hypotheses at 0.05 confidence level. Rainfall data from Maasai Rural Training Centre (MRTC) Isinya was analyzed using Microsoft Excel to give a general pattern of rainfall in the area for the last five decades. Results indicated that 87.5% of pastoralists traditionally used seasonal movement of livestock as a response to cope with drought in addition to herd splitting and livestock mix. On current livestock feeding practices, 97.8% practiced seasonal movement of livestock in addition to purchasing of commercial feeds and hay. On frequency of droughts, 98.5% had noticed an increase in frequency where droughts have become an annual occurrence. On duration of droughts, 97.8% had noticed an increase in the duration where droughts lasted for a period of 7-12 after onset. On changes in rainfall patterns, 99.3% had noted changes in rainfall patterns where onset of rainfall was no longer predictable. It can be concluded that seasonal movement of livestock in search of pasture and water used as a traditional coping strategy is still in place, frequency and duration of droughts in the area have increased while onset of rainfall is no longer predictable. The study recommend up scaling of traditional drought coping strategies related to livestock feeding, adoption of improved drought tolerant livestock breeds, development of more water harvesting facilities and policy interventions that that promote adoption of technologies that enhance harvesting and storage of grass hay.

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