Climate change presents numerous challenges to sustaining and enhancing agricultural productivity especially in horticulture. Recent studies show that Kenya is experiencing extremes of droughts and floods as well as temperature fluctuations affecting the suitability of areas for growing horticultural crops.
To aid in climate adaptation and mitigation in Kenya, the Embassy of the Netherlands in Kenya financed the 3R Kenya Project focusing on three agri-food sectors; Dairy, Aquaculture and Horticulture in a bid to promote trade within the value-chain and contribute to food and nutrition security in Kenya.
The project that brings together academia, industry, NGOs and government held an expert workshop at JKUAT, December 6, 2018 to deliberate on and refine the Climate Atlas being piloted in Kiambu and Kajiado counties.
The Climate Atlas combines climate data, mapping and storytelling to bring the issue of climate change closer to home, and is designed to inspire local, regional, and national action and solutions. It is also critical in visualizing the impact of climate change in the country and help; farmers and counties make informed agricultural decisions.
Speaking during the opening of the workshop, Food Security Expert at the Embassy of the Netherlands in Kenya, Ms. Nynke Humalda outlined the importance of research in climate resilience, adaptation and mitigation, saying scientific information can have a significant impact on how people change their practices and beliefs in relation to climate change.
She acknowledged that the Climate Atlas will provide localized climatic data that will inform the counties and make it easier for them to integrate knowledge-based information into their policy making them effective.
While lauding the project for the work it has done so far, Nominated Senator, Mary Seneta said counties in Kenya should make use of the researchers in universities and leverage on their agricultural niche to enhance the country’s agricultural productivity.
“Agriculture being devolved, counties need to make use of the research outputs of our professors, employ the use of technology and build the capacity of our local farmers in order to achieve food security and nutrition in the country,” elucidated Ms. Seneta.
On the Climate Atlas, Ms. Seneta said she is optimistic that the data provided by the platform will be vital in bridging the gap between the policy makers and researchers and inform legislation in the country.
With more than 60% of households depending on horticultural crops for food and nutrition, the convener of the workshop, Prof. John Wesonga said counties require capacity, skills and resources to understand the linkage between climate change and horticulture value chain in order to leverage on the opportunities they present.
The 3R (robust, reliable resilient)- from ‘Aid to Trade’ project is a 3.5 years initiative implemented by Wageningen University & Research, in the Netherlands in collaboration with JKUAT, Africa Center for Technology Studies (ACTS), Egerton University, Tradecare and AgiProFocus.