Scaling up crop diversification among farming communities for food security under climate change: A case study of the Kenyan pelis programme
African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development
Climate change poses significant risks to food security globally with predictions of 10-20 % decline in rain-fed crop yields by 2050. Sub-Saharan Africa remains highly susceptible to food shortage since over 95 % of the region's total cropland is rain-fed. Kenya's over reliance on rain-fed agriculture predisposes the country to climate-induced food insecurity. Murang'a County in Kenya is experiencing climate change challenges manifested in prolonged droughts and floods. The consequences,are
... onsequences,are failed cropping seasons, soil erosion, landslides, altered crop suitability and a resurgence of human, livestock, crop pests,and diseases,culminating into food insecurity. This study was conducted with Kimandi-Wanyaga community in the Gatanga Sub-County in Murang'a County, Kenya. Residents are smallholder subsistence rain-fed farmers. The study explored the potential of up-scaling crop diversification under the Plantation Establishment and Livelihood Improvement Scheme (PELIS) for food security vis-à-vis climate change. The community's climate change coping strategies were explored to account for the need to up-scale crop diversification under PELIS. A mixed methods research design was applied whereby a systematic sampling method was used to select 281 household-heads. Three key informants were purposively selected and primary data were collected through a household survey, in-depth key stakeholder interviews, focus group discussions and on-farm trials. Quantitative data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics while qualitative data were analysed using thematic and content analysis. The study established that 92.9 % of the community perceived climate change and its impacts. They had adopted a combination of coping strategies most of which,were found to be informed by short-term survival and hence,considered inadequate for long-term adaptation. The PELIS approach had been piloted in Murang'a County and was found to be a promising strategy for crop diversification and food security among forest-adjacent communities. However, only 11 % of the studied community participated in the scheme. Therefore, the study endeavoured to work with the community to promote cultivation of traditional vegetables under PELIS for crop diversification and food security in the face of climate change.The PELIS beneficiaries who adopted cultivation of Black nightshade, Amaranths and Cowpeas managed to produce enough for household consumption and sale of surplus for income. The PELIS,therefore, possesses the co-benefits of climate change adaptation through crop diversification for food security and climate change mitigation through afforestation for carbon sequestration.