Is there a Mismatch between Perceptions of Climate Change Variability and Adaptation Practices amongst Smallholder Farmers in Mount Kenya Region?
According to demographic predictions, mountainous environments are found in over half of the world's countries. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, mountain ecosystems are home to over 850 million people and supply critical ecosystem services such as water for domestic use, agriculture, industry, and power generation to more than half of the world's population. The objective of the study was to understand the perceptions of climate change variability and adaptation practices amongst smallholder farmers in the Mount Kenya region. The research presents an overview of smallholder farmers’ perception of climate change where items were used to measure the concept of climate change variability among 453 smallholder farmers in Mt Kenya west. The test items carried two thematic issues which were temperature and rainfall. The items were used to construct an index for climate change using Principal Component Analysis (PCA). The ANOVA test results indicated (p<0.05) confirmed that there is a statistically significant difference in smallholder farmers perception of climate change across the three forest blocks, gender, and Socioeconomic Status (SES). Further, the study established a significant level of awareness of climate change among smallholder farmers and a relatively stagnant approach to the utilization of non-timber forest products (NTFPs). This confirms the disparities among smallholder farmers’ perceptions on climate change and adaptation practices. The study recommends the formulation of the consultative, pragmatic, and responsive policy framework that balances forest conservation and forest adjacent community’s user rights.
Keywords: Climate change, forest adjacent communities, mountain ecosystems, variability, vulnerability, community development