Assessment of the Suitability of Conservation Agriculture Systems as Adaptation Strategies to Climate Change, a Case of Embu County, Kenya
GICHOVI, Charles Maina
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Globally countries have been on the struggle to get industrialized, trading in their regional setups and internationally. This in return has led to increase in the release of high quantities of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The gases have caused the greenhouse effect on the planet leading to a rise in terrestrial temperatures. this rise has led to changes in the patterns of weather and climate globally. These changes in the world climatic patterns has contributed to unreliability of the production systems that rely on rainfall. The worst hit is the agriculture sector and the small scale farmers across the globe have borne the blunt of climate change being worst hit. Flooded waters due to high intensity precipitations over short durations of time wash away livestock and crops as they make their way to the already rising seas. The small scale farmer who relies on simple production systems for subsistence purposes has globally been hit by food insecurity. Drought incidences have also been on the rise globally thereby increasing the cases of starved and malnourished people especially women and children. This study sought to respond to the climate change related problems affecting small scale farmers who usually produce to feed their families and sell the surplus. In that regard the study used Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)’s AquaCrop model to assess the yield response to water for dry beans while focusing on a small village in the rural Eastern Kenya. (Embu). It involved planting of a crop in the month of April 2018 that would provide the necessary crop phenology data and the environment data for the site it was cultivated. This data would later be fed in to the model in fine tuning process. Through calibration the model was finally customized for running simulations for the local conditions. The model accurately predicted the expected yield under climate change scenario in the next ten years. If farmers in the area continue to practice conventional farming methods, then there shall be a 10% reduction in the level of yield in a span of ten years to come. Another treatment; conservation Agriculture that involves placing of organic mulch to cover the soil indicated an 8% increase in yields in the same span of time. The model was accurate in predicting future yields among other parameters. It was instrumental in giving various yield gaps between different combination of management practices on the field. The study recommended the model for use by researchers, policy makers, agriculture extension staff in evaluating several scenarios within a short time giving accurate and practical recommendations.