Kenya farmers use science + traditional forecasting to survive climate change
Christian Aid, 26 March 2012

LONDON, UK: The idea behind the Sustainable Agricultural Livelihoods Innovation Project in eastern Kenya, funded by Christian Aid and the Humanitarian Futures Project of King’s College, London, is that combining science-based seasonal forecasts with more traditional methods will be more successful than either approach alone. Participating farmers have been coping with weather patterns consistent with the expected effects of climate change, such as higher temperatures, more intense rainfall, stronger winds and longer dry periods. Twelve groups (averaging 55 farmers each) were given scientists’ predictions of when last year’s short rains would start, how they would be distributed across the area concerned and when they would finish. Local, traditional indicators such as the timing of the flowering of acacia trees were also factored in. Research with the farmers’ groups suggested that as a result of the extra information they received, they planted early to take advantage of the predicted early start to the rainy season, planted crops which could tolerate any possible early end to the rains and worked with the soil to ensure that whatever rains did fall penetrated the ground rather than running off it and causing soil erosion. The project will continue through 2012 and 2013. Early results were presented at the Planet Under Pressure Conference. Read the release …

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