The Role of the Market in Addressing Climate Change in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands of Kenya: The Case of Gadam Sorghum PDF Print E-mail
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Tuesday, 02 August 2011 11:14

Mwangi, DM1* and D Karanja2, R Mutuku3 and L Maina4

1Kenya Agricultural Research Institute P.O. Box 57811 -00200 Nairobi, Kenya

2 Dryland Research Centre (KARI Katumani) P.O. Box 57811 -00200 Nairobi, Kenya

3 Smart Logistic Solutions Limited

4East Africa Breweries Limited (EABL)

*Corresponding author:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


About 20-25% of Kenya’s population live in arid and semi arid lands (ASAL) with the majority (estimated at some 80%) in semi-arid lands where rainfed agriculture is possible. The semi-arid and arid lands represent 70% of Kenya where nomadic and semi-nomadic pastoral and agro-pastoral communities dominate, and large scale ranching and wildlife reserves are common in the more favourable (dry semi-arid range) areas. Poverty levels in Kenya have been increasing while literacy rates are decreasing, particularly within the female population and in the ASAL. Food insecurity is most severe in ASAL. Between 2000 and 2005 the Kenyan government spent about €40-60 million annually on famine relief with NGOs spending about the same again. In 2009 alone approximately 10 million Kenyan mainly in the ASAL areas needed relief food. Increasing agricultural production and productivity is the best long term solution towards poverty alleviation and food security. This is a major challenge with climate change as drought and floods will be more frequent and recovery time shorter. The growing of drought tolerant crops can assist the communities adapt to climate change.

Research and dissemination of dryland crops and technologies appropriate to the ASAL areas of Kenya has been going on for decades but the low adoption of the same has persisted. Farmers in these areas prefer growing maize which with the erratic and poorly distributed rainfall received the crop fails in 8 out of 10 seasons. Frequent crop failure has led to over 50% of the population in the semi-arid areas of Eastern Kenya being food insecure. Sorghum has been popularised in the ASALs as a drought tolerant crop that help the communities to adapt to climate change but the uptake has been very low. This paper addresses the impact of markets on the uptake of Gadam sorghum in Kenya.

Keywords; Sorghum, gadam, climate change adaptation, private public partnerships
Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 August 2011 04:44

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