Two weeks ago, an international environmental watchdog and lobby group, Greenpeace Africa raised concerns over local governments’ failure to allocate adequate funding to the agriculture sector.
The lobby group therefore filed a petition stating that the county assembly formulates laws that support the ecological farming model since we have been practising it and it has proven to be the most effective form of tackling prolonged drought and climate change and variability and enhancing our economic resilience to meet the food security needs .
So as a response to that, Kitui County has enacted a law that sets aside one per cent of its annual budget towards climate change adaptation.
“Greenpeace Africa commends the move by the Kitui county government to set aside funds to help vulnerable communities adapt to adverse weather patterns caused by climate change. With the county’s budget this financial year standing at Sh11.7 billion ($116.56 million), it means the county will spend at least Sh117 million ($1.165 million) in climate change initiatives.” Greenpeace Africa’s Food for Life Campaigner Claire Nasike
This will ensure that farmers build resilience against future weather shocks.
Agriculture in dominates Kenya’s economy. According to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the sector accounts for 65 per cent of the export earnings, and provides the livelihood (employment, income and food security needs) for more than 80 per cent of the Kenyan population and contributes to improving nutrition through production of safe, diverse and nutrient dense foods.
Farmers, who are used to rain-fed farming systems, are being pushed into dryer, more marginal areas where they become increasingly vulnerable to drought and the unpredictability of weather patterns resulting from climate change
“The effects of climate change have negatively impacted agricultural productivity in Kitui County. Increasing temperatures and unpredictable rainfall patterns have significantly reduced crop yields. Such an initiative will lead to increased productivity and reverse the cycle of dependency on food aid.” Said Ms Nasike.
“The county should ensure that small scale farmers who are affected the most by the impacts of climate change such as drought have access to the funds to help them purchase indigenous drought resistant seeds and other organic farm inputs.” She added.