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Title: Use of seasonal climate forecast and drought effects on livestock assets in Baringo County, Kenya
Authors: Ochieng’, Richard
Keywords: livestock assets
Issue Date: Mar-2018
Publisher: Egerton University
Abstract: Increased frequency, severity and duration of drought events in arid and semi-arid regions (ASALs) of Kenyan increase scarcity in water and pastures that support livestock assets. This destabilizes the livelihood base dependent on livestock assets. Use of seasonal climate forecasts (SCFs) can provide early warning of the drought events and inform actions to reduce vulnerability of pastoral households to drought effects. This study assessed trends and severity of drought events, their effects on livestock assets, effectiveness and usefulness of SCF in predicting drought events, and identified enabling conditions for better use of SCF. The study was in the ASALs of Baringo County in Lower Midland 5 (LM5) and Inner Lowland 6 (IL6) Agro-ecological zones. Data was from Meteorological Services, household survey, Key Informant interviews, and secondary sources. Computation of drought indices determined trends and severity of droughts. Means comparisons and Chi square determined drought effects on livestock assets and enabling conditions for use of SCF. Sensitivity analysis and correlation tests determined effectiveness and usefulness of SCF. Results showed a declining trend in rainfall between 1970 and 2008 with marked peak periods and extreme low rainfall corresponding to extreme climatic events. Drought re-occurrences were within shorter intervals and were characterized by trekking livestock, loss of livestock assets and decline in market value of stock. These observations corroborated with perceptions of pastoralists that livestock asset loss increases, productivity declines and stock market value declines during droughts. Annual rainfall correlated negatively (r = - 0.6879, p<0.05) with drought events. Relayed SCF was 85.71% and 80.00% of the times effective in predicting March-April-May (MAM) and October November-December (OND) seasons, respectively. The SCF was 75.00% and 57.14% of the times useful in prediction of MAM and OND seasons, respectively. In order of importance, the media, integration of traditional climate information and extension services were most effective enabling conditions for disseminating SCFs. Most important hindrances to use of SCFs were insecurity, conflicts, illiteracy, and lack of access to SCFs information. The study concluded that these ASALs would continue to experience decreasing trends in total annual rainfall, re-current droughts and even become drier over time. The drought events negatively affect livestock asset and different livestock species respond differently to rainfall variability and drought events. The seasonal climate forecasts are effective in predicting drought events and therefore useful tool in decision-making.
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Environment and Resource Development

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