Factors influencing climate change adaptation among tea farmers in Chebut catchment area, Nandi central district, Kenya
Climate change will drastically reduce tea production over the next 40 years with suitable lands being pushed up the altitude, denting earnings from one of the Kenya’s top hard currency source. The International Centre for Tropical Agriculture has it that, land under tea will reduce by 42percent by 2050, creating excess capacity in the tea factories dependent on the catchment. Of concern were areas west of the Rift valley particularly Nandi, Kericho and Gucha which will be most affected. The region around Nandi shows a slight decrease in suitability by 2020 but by 2050, significant loss of suitability of up to 40 percent is observed, and producers here will therefore need to carefully analyse the implications and implement adaptations and diversifications. The purpose of this study was to assess the factors influencing climate change adaptations among tea farmers in Chebut catchment area in Nandi Central District. The research was based on a descriptive survey design with a target population of 10,000 tea farmers. A sample of 370 was chosen using both simple random and systematic sampling. Questionnaires were distributed to 60 tea buying centres and the data obtained was analysed using Ordinary Logistic Regression Model with SPSS version 17.0. Findings through descriptive analysis reveal that majority of the respondents were aware of warmer temperatures and experienced irregular rainfall patterns which started late and stopped early. The results of the model revealed that the choice of adapting to climate change by the tea farmers was positively and significantly influenced by level of education of the farmer whereas farmers’ demographics (age, marital status, gender), size of farm, and access to information (exhibitions, trainings, seminars) appeared to play no significant role in influencing climate change adaptations in Chebut area. The research concluded that education was a major predictor of climate change adaptations and that there was inadequate access to climate change information through training. The research recommended that for farmers to develop more effective climate change adaptation strategies, there is need for the government and tea factories to support farmers by providing necessary resources such as information and extension workers to train farmers on existing climate resilient projects and new infrastructure in climate change monitoring and reporting stations. Effective policies should be put in place such as extension services, consider running programs on television and radios to increase awareness on climate change. These policies should address imperfections such as access to information and linking farmers with extension services and farmers groups in order to reach smallholder farmers. Massive campaigns on the reality of climate change and its serious consequences on food production so as to persuade farmers to adopt adaptations need to be conducted. The social network through farmer to farmer extension should be promoted and strengthened so as to boost awareness level from the current position to a level where all tea farmers are better placed in adaptation practices in addition, regular meetings, seminars and workshops should be put in place to improve adoption of new skills and technology that will boost uptake of climate change adaptations.