An old woman is seen outside her mud-house in Baringo, northwest Kenya, March 12, 2015. Residents of Baringo County are experiencing extreme cases of hunger as a result of the long periods of drought in Kenya. According to Kenya's Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru, a total of 1.6 million people in arid and semi-arid parts of Kenya are in danger of dying as a result of hunger. (Xinhua/Simbi Kusimba)
An old woman is seen outside her mud-house in Baringo, northwest Kenya, March 12, 2015. Residents of Baringo County are experiencing extreme cases of hunger as a result of the long periods of drought in Kenya. According to Kenya's Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru, a total of 1.6 million people in arid and semi-arid parts of Kenya are in danger of dying as a result of hunger. (Xinhua/Simbi Kusimba)

Speaking at a press briefing in Nairobi on Thursday, the researchers warned that subsistence farming in Kenya faced “grave risks” in the absence of solid interventions to enhance its resilience against rising atmospheric temperatures.

An old woman is seen outside her mud-house in Baringo, northwest Kenya, March 12, 2015. Residents of Baringo County are experiencing extreme cases of hunger as a result of the long periods of drought in Kenya. According to Kenya's Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru, a total of 1.6 million people in arid and semi-arid parts of Kenya are in danger of dying as a result of hunger. (Xinhua/Simbi Kusimba)
An old woman is seen outside her mud-house in Baringo, northwest Kenya, March 12, 2015. Residents of Baringo County are experiencing extreme cases of hunger as a result of the long periods of drought in Kenya. According to Kenya’s Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru, a total of 1.6 million people in arid and semi-arid parts of Kenya are in danger of dying as a result of hunger. (Xinhua/Simbi Kusimba)

Justus Ochieng, a senior researcher with Tegemeo Institute, a Nairobi-based think tank, said adoption of climate smart agriculture would cushion Kenyan rural communities against food insecurity and poverty.

“Climate change directly affects food production and rural livelihoods. Since the early 90s, Kenya has experienced five severe droughts and the phenomenon could worsen if we don’t scale up adaptation measures,” Ochieng told journalists.

The Kenyan negotiators at the ongoing climate talks in Paris have lobbied for additional funding to boost implementation of adaptation programs in strategic sectors like agriculture and energy.

Tegemeo researchers said investment in climate resilient farming practices like agro-forestry, zero tillage alongside irrigation were an imperative to achieve food and nutrition security in Kenya.

The remarks came as the African Union in conjunction with New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) held a side event in Paris on Thursday to raise awareness on the critical role of climate smart agriculture to the continent’s development.

Officials said the two continental bodies would implement joint initiatives to promote climate resilient farming at the small holder level.

“Collaboration among key stakeholders is needed to scale up climate resilient agriculture in Africa in order to address the challenge of food insecurity,” said Estherine Fotabong, a senor programs officer at NEPAD.

Climatic shocks have adversely impacted on cultivation of key staples in Kenyan smallholder farms.

According to a research conducted by Tegemeo Institute, maize production in Kenya dropped by 4.2 percent in 2014 due to extreme weather events like droughts and flooding.

Ochieng said the tea sector had suffered heavily as a result of severe droughts, adding climate change impacts had been felt in the breadbaskets of north and south rift.

“Our assessment indicates that all agro-ecological zones have been affected by climate change hence the declining harvest of major staples and cash crops. This trend will continue in the near future,” he told Xinhua.

Policy briefs from Tegemeo Institute recommend a revamp of policy frameworks and capacity building for small holder farmers to facilitate adoption of climate resilient agricultural practices.

Researchers proposed investment in ecosystems conservation and crop insurance to enhance the resilience of smallholder farmers in the face of climate change. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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