Impacts of Climate Change, Adaptation and Mitigation on Maize Production in Kenya

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Impacts of Climate Change, Adaptation and Mitigation on Maize Production in Kenya

Agriculture is the backbone of Kenya’s economy contributing significantly to food security, provision of employment and supporting both rural and urban livelihoods with maize as a staple food. Global warming is a significant challenge in maintaining food security and aggravates decline in agricultural productivity; with rapid growth in population across the world, and more specifically in developing and undeveloped countries. This paper uses the Ensemble Average General Circulation Model (GCM), at 50% probability and SRES High Emission A2 Scenario to assess the impacts of climate change on maize farming in Kenya; synonymous with other sub-Saharan African countries. The model predicts general increase in temperature throughout midcentury 2020’s-2050’s to end of century 2080’s -2100’s. Kenya will have a general accelerating rise in temperature at an average of 3.030C by 2050 and 4.530C between 2080’s and end of the century, with warmer drier seasons; average minimum temperature of 24.10C and average maximum temperatures of 34.10C. This will increase the rate of evapotranspiration; hence reduce soil moisture and water availability for maize crop. Wetter conditions are projected during short rainy seasons in the Arid and Semi-arid agroecological zones between mid-century and end of the century. Additionally, warmer seasonality with trends of weather extremities such as Elnino, hence floods that destroy crops are expected. Severe droughts characterized by La Nina extremities are Lukenya University Multidisciplinary Journal (LUMJ), Vol.1, August 25, 2021, ISSN 2663-3183 | 168 likely to intensify in upper highlands and lowland regions. To adapt and mitigate the long-term effects of climate change on maize production as a staple food, there is need to develop appropriate infrastructure, policy framework and financial systems. This will support small scale irrigation development, research to quantify the impacts of climate change in specific agro-ecological zones with focus on the climatic requirements for different developed maize varieties, and other food crops suitable for changing future climates.

Keywords: climate change, maize production, adaptation strategies, Ensemble Model (GCM).

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