Friday, 20 November 2020 05:03

Gender Differences in Climate Change Adaptation among Potato farmers in Meru County

Written by S. M. Kimathi*, O. I. Ayuya and B. Mutai
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S. M. Kimathi*, O. I. Ayuya and B. Mutai

1Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness Management,

Egerton University 2Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness Management, Egerton University;

*Corresponding Author:

The impact of climate change on natural resources has necessitated the need to adapt potato farming to increase farmers’ resilience against climate change in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Production of Potato (Solanum tuberosum. L) has been declining over the years in SSA due to climate change and variability. This has resulted to low food supply and low income among smallholder farmers exacerbating levels of food and nutrition insecurity, and poverty. For instance, in 2017, International Potato Center reported a tremendous reduction in potato yields by 56% due to reduced rainfall.  The study used data from 384 randomly selected potato farmers from Meru County through field survey. Statistical analysis such as chi-square and t-tests were used. Out of 384 households, 135 were female-headed. The coping practices considered include; adoption of climate resilient potato varieties, crop rotation, irrigation, intercropping, soil conservation, increased use of pesticides and use of organic fertilizers. Climate resilient varieties have the potential of increasing farmers’ resilience to climate change due to their desirable attributes of high yield, early maturity and resistance. The results showed that there was a significant difference between male and female headed households in terms of adoption of resilient varieties with males having an adoption level of 58.34% higher than the females who were constrained in terms of accessibility to resources such as land, information, seed, capital and collateral to secure credit.  From the results above, there is need for government and non-governmental stakeholders to deploy extension officers in the area to ensure farmers are informed on climate change adaptation strategies such as improved varieties and are enabled to adopt them through proper dissemination and creation of strong seed systems. More so, collective action among female farmers should be encouraged to reap benefits of social networks and form a strong collateral base for credit.

Keywords: Adaptation, climate change, female farmers, potatoes.

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