Kenyan farmers and agriculture officials need to prepare for a possible geographic shift in corn production as climate change threatens to make some areas of the country much less productive for cultivation while simultaneously making others more corn-friendly, according to a new report prepared by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA).
The report, released today by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) at a high-level event with Kenya’s agriculture and environment ministries, finds that overall, Kenyan farmers—who make up 75 percent of the country’s labor force—may not only survive, but could even thrive in the face of climate change. The authors caution that there is a “low adaptive capacity” in Kenya’s farming sector due to limited economic resources, heavy reliance on rainfed agriculture, frequent droughts and floods, and general poverty. But they believe there are reasons to be optimistic
“As long as we offer farmers the right services and policies now, and more options in what they grow and where they grow it, Kenya can make a major transformation in its ability to cope with the changing climate,” said Timothy Thomas, a research fellow at IFPRI and co-author of the analysis. “Climate predictions for Kenya’s most important crop, for example, tell us where (corn) farmers may need to shift to other crops, where they might need to introduce drought-resistant varieties, and even new areas where (corn) can grow.”
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