Changing Rainfall Patterns: Impact on Subsistence Agriculture in Laikipia East District, Kenya
Farmers in the Laikipia East District of Kenya rely on subsistence agriculture as their livelihood source, which in turn depends on the amount and distribution of rainfall. The main growing season occurs during the peak rainfall season, that is, between March and May while the secondary growing season occurs between October and December. Annual rainfall trends between 1975 and 2005 showed that rainfall in Laikipia East District increased, a condition suitable for the good subsistence agricultural performance. On the contrary, subsistence agriculture in the district performed dismally due to the changing rainfall patterns. The annual numbers of rain days declined but the intensity of rain increased. During the main growing season, the number of rain days declined in March and May but remained constant in April. Rainfall intensities declined in March but increased in April and May. The effects of the changing rainfall patterns on subsistence agriculture were reduction in growing period and ineffective rainfall with overall negative effects on yields. This paper examines the changing pattern of rainfall and the associated impact on subsistence agriculture in Laikipia East District, Kenya.
Keywords: Climate Change, Rainfall Pattern, Growing Seasons, Subsistence Agriculture
Julius M. Huho
Lecturer and a PhD Student (Climatology), Geography Department, Maseno University