People’s perception on climate change and its effects on livelihood in Kitui County
This paper examines people’s perception on climate change and the effect of the changing climate on their livelihood in Kitui County. Kitui County is a semi-arid region which experiences long dry spells that make a large section of the land almost unutilized most of the year. Majority of the farmers practice small scale farming with a large percentage owning less than five acres of land. The size of the farm is one of the factors that determines the amount of food produced which subsequently affects their livelihood. Food production can be improved by increasing the land under crop cultivation which will eventually increase food production and availability. Normally, for subsistence agriculture, farm holding size plays a major role in determining a household’s food production and security. In this study, a total of 400 small scale farmers were interviewed on their perception of the changing climate with a view of gauging its effect on their livelihood. Structured questionnaires, oral interview, Focus Group Discussion (FGD) and direct observation were employed in data collection. The results indicate that the changing climate has led to higher temperatures and more frequent and longer droughts which have resulted in less food production which negatively affects their livelihood. In this study, many of the farmers owned small farms and relied on rainfall for their agricultural activities. The over reliance on rainfall made it difficult for the farmers to put their farms into productive use all year round especially during the dry season due to the unpredictability of the rainfall.