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Article Published In Vol.7 (Sept-Oct-2019)

The Effect of Rainfall Variability on Maize and Coffee Farming Activities between 1990 – 2014 in Machakos Sub County, Kenya

Pages : 600-609, DOI: https://doi.org/10.14741/ijmcr/v.7.5.1

Author : Christopher M. Indiatsy and Dr. Paul O. Abuom

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Varying climatic conditions with increased uncertainty mainly in rainfall and temperature are salient features in marginal areas globally, adversely affecting farming activities particularly in Africa. Kenya experiences variations of
annual rainfall with considerable uncertainty. These variations ranging from below 500mm to above 2000mm annually, cause droughts and floods respectively, affecting farming activities and yields. This study focused on Machakos sub County, a semi arid area, east of Central Kenya highlands. Information on the effects of rainfall variability on farming activities in Machakos, have concentrated on small holder maize cultivation and covered broad areas of the Eastern region and Machakos County, leaving out other crops. They mainly cover the period between 1930 – 1990. After this period, very scanty information exists. The objective of the study was to investigate the influence of rainfall variability on farming activities in Machakos sub County, focusing on Maize and Coffee. A sample of 384 from 35,605 households was drawn using the Webster (1995) formulae and stratified into units based on the twelve locations. Primary data was collected through; household questionnaires, interviews, observation and photographs. Publications from Meteorological Department Nairobi and sub county Agricultural offices provided secondary data. Inferential statistics using Pearson’s Correlation was used to determine relationships between variables. Correlation between annual rainfall totals and maize yields (r = 0.632) and coffee yields (r = 0.695) were statistically significant at 0.05 significance level. Maize and coffee yields increased with high rainfall. In conclusion, Rainfall variability has a strong relationship with Maize, Coffee yields. Disseminating information on rainfall forecasts, rainwater harvesting for irrigation, proper, a forestation and reforestation programs were highly recommended.

Keywords: Rainfall variability, rain fed agriculture, arididty, marginal areas, areal variability, temporal variability, drought intensity, floods, el nino, lanina, sahelian regions and rainfall fluctuations.

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