The effects of unpredictable weather changes on food security in Kenya: a case study of Githunguri District, Kiambu County
Oduor, Christine O
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This was a study that evaluated the effects of the unpredictable weather changes on food security in the country with emphasis on Githunguri District. There have been rampant issues of food insecurity caused by weather changes in the country. As such, it was important to find out if there was any relationship between the unpredictable weather changes and food security in the country. The objectives of the study were: 1) to assess the level of awareness of unpredictable weather changes among the farmers 2).To establish the farmer's knowledge of the link between the unpredictable weather changes and food security 3) To examine the farm management strategies employed by the farmers to enhance food security and 4) To determine the influence of environmental variability on food security in Githunguri District. The study was guided by Systems theory which does much to render the complex dynamics of human bio-psycho-socio-cultural change comprehensible. Observed phenomena in the natural and human-made universe do not come in neat disciplinary packages labeled scientific, humanistic, and transcendental: they invariably involve complex combinations of fields, and the multifaceted situations to which they give rise require a holistic approach for their solution. In this study, it would not be fair to say that its only the unpredictable weather changes that have an effect on food security, there are other factors that are not related to the weather changes but do have a significant effect on food security in our country. Another theory that guided this study was the Rationale Choice theory. Rational choice theories are predicated on the notion that individual actors pursue their goals efficiently. These individuals may have a great deal of information or none at all, but based on their understanding of the alternatives before them, they select the course of action that promises to deliver the greatest net benefits. It can be argued that it is our selfish ambitions have led to the current food situation that we are now facing. If only we took more time to take care of our environment, practiced safe agriculture and reduced on pollution the unpredictable weather we are currently facing would not exist. This in turn would not affect the food situation of our country. We still have an opportunity to save the situation; the choice is in our hands. And this does not mean that benefits and intended goals will not be achieved, they will be - our harvests will still be bountiful. The research site for the study was Githunguri District. The target population for the study was sixty (60) respondents, i.e., thirty men (young and old) and thirty women (young and old).Data for the study was collected through questionnaires, interviews and observation. The primary data collected was quantitatively analysed, presented and interpreted using SPSS 8.0 statistical application and MS Excel 2007. The main findings of the study show that there is a strong link between the unpredictable weather changes and food security in Githunguri district. The farmers are very much aware of the unpredictable weather changes taking place and the effects it has on food security, they have also put in place measures to deal with the situation. It should be noted that, there now must also be a genuinely interdisciplinary attempt to apply the rapidly growing scientific knowledge of the effects of unpredictable weather change on crops and livestock to the 'complex, diverse and risk-prone' farming systems of developing countries. This will not only improve knowledge of impacts, but just as important, aid in building adaptive capacity at all levels including that of farmers themselves.