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Egerton University (2017)

Effectiveness of seasonal climate forecasts in agricultural decision-making among smallholder farmers in semi-arid Voi sub-county, Kenya

Mwatu, Morris Maingi

Titre : Effectiveness of seasonal climate forecasts in agricultural decision-making among smallholder farmers in semi-arid Voi sub-county, Kenya

Auteur : Mwatu, Morris Maingi

Université de soutenance : Egerton University

Grade : Master of Science in Geography 2017

Résumé
Climate change and variability greatly affect many human activities particularly agriculture. Various adaptation strategies to climate variability have been used over the years with little attention to the vital role played by seasonal climate forecast (SCF) in providing information on the expected climatic conditions to adapt to. Despite dissemination of SCF information to varied users by Kenya Meteorological services (KMS) before rain seasons, it still remains unclear whether the information is used in agricultural decision-making among smallholder farmers in semi-arid areas.This study sought to contribute towards improved use of SCF in response to climate variability by assessing perception, use and constraints to use of seasonal climate forecast in agricultural decision-making by smallholder farmers in semi-arid Voi sub-County, Kenya. SCF for October-November-December (OND) 2015 was obtained from KMSand compared to observed climatic conditions for the season. Climatic data of the study area for the period 1985-2014 was obtained from Voi Meteorological station and used to calculate the OND mean rainfall. Questionnaires were administered to 246 household heads randomly selected from two Locations and interview schedule administered to five purposively selected Key Informants. Primary data collected were analyzed using descriptive statistics, one sample Chi-square and Pearson Correlation tests. The results showed that majority of smallholder farmers’ perception of SCF information was somewhat good with a significance of p=0.000 in their perception.The study also established that 41.7% of smallholder farmers used OND 2015 SCF in agricultural decision-making. Key constraints to use of seasonal climate forecast were lack of trust in the forecasts and inadequate extension support. The household socio-economic characteristics that were found to have a significant influence on use of SCF were education level and reason for farming. The study concludes that the perception of OND 2015 SCF by smallholder farmers was a limitation to use of the information in agricultural decision-making. The study recommends enhancement of awareness of SCF information, provision of short-term forecasts and training on use of forecasted seasonal climate information in agricultural decision-making.

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Page publiée le 14 avril 2018, mise à jour le 6 mai 2019