Impacts of Climate Change and Variability on Smallholder Dairy Cattle Production in Bungoma, Kenya

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International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications


Climate change is becoming one of the most serious challenges to Kenya's achievement of its development goals as described under Vision 2030. Kenya is already highly susceptible to climate-related hazards, and in many areas, extreme events and variability of weather are now the norm; rainfall is irregular and unpredictable; while droughts have become more frequent during the long rainy season and severe floods during the short rains. Dairy farming is highly sensitive to climate change and variability, and rain-fed agriculture systems, in particular, are especially susceptible to unpredictable weather. Agricultural production is intricately linked to animal feed provision and hence, small holder dairy herd productivity. Small holder dairy farming faces a high risk of reduced productivity resulting from extreme weather occasioned by climate change and weather variability. Therefore this study sought to determine the impacts of climate change and variability on smallholder dairy cattle production in Bungoma, Kenya. Data were analyzed using both quantitative and qualitative data analyses approaches. Quantitative approach was descriptive, where frequencies and percentages were used. Correlation analysis was conducted to show the relationship between rainfall (mm), temperature (oC), dairy cattle population and milk production (kgs.) in Mt. Elgon, Tongaren and Kimilili sub counties. The finding indicates that there was decreasing acreage under fodder and pasture production. Farmers owned less than 5 dairy cows that produced a daily average of 5-8 litres and 2-5litres per cow during the wet and the dry season respectively. During the dry season, farmers used preserved feed, crop residues or feeds purchased from neighbours. While the tick borne diseases, pneumonia and lumpy skin incidences had increased in the county, foot and mouth disease had decreased during the past ten years. Extreme weather changes especially dry spell was associated with increased incidences of tick borne and Foot and Mouth diseases, shortage of feed resources and reduced milk production in the three study sites. Changes in climatic patterns especially the decreasing dry spell, droughts, and unpredictable precipitation has contributed to increased livestock diseases incidences such as East coast fever, foot and mouth diseases, shortage of feed resources hence, increased cost of food and feeds, and overall reduction of milk production in the Bungoma County. Therefore, there existed a significant relationship between the changing climatic patterns and smallholder dairy herd productivity in the county. Climate change and variability effects are on great increase and quickly eroding the gains of dairy technologies adapted in the recent times in the county to boost smallholder dairy cattle production in the county. The study recommends on both policy formulation and investment adaptations by the county government to address to minimize losses and damages incurred by smallholder dairy cattle farmers, occasioned by increased frequency of extreme rainfall over the three sites.


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Climate Change, Variability, Smallholder Dairy Cattle, Bungoma County, Kenya


Nalianya G. W., Wakhungu J. W. & Nyandiko N. O. (2020): Impacts of Climate Change and Variability on Smallholder Dairy Cattle Production in Bungoma, Kenya.: International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications.: Article Link: DOI: 10.29322/IJSRP.10.12.2020.p10886