The annual March to May long rain season has been erratic this year in Kenya, particularly in the breadbasket, raising fears that the east African nation will grapple with food shortage.
And an uncharacteristically cold weather has engulfed Kenya, affecting many places across the country unlike in previous years where it was limited to the capital Nairobi and central Kenya.
The Kenyan farmers are further grappling with increased pests and diseases, which include fall armyworm.
As these climate-related events unfold in Kenya, ordinary Kenyans believe that they are due to climate change.
In the past, communities in Kenya would have blamed such happenings on themselves, such as failure to appease their ancestors.
However, that era is long gone as knowledge on climate change spreads across the country, making citizens and communities adopt mitigation measures.
Ordinary citizens currently understand that it is due to climate change that their crops are failing, pests have increased and floods and droughts have become common.
“I stopped growing maize due to pests and diseases and rain failure. I have shifted to horticulture and use irrigation,” David Ambuche, a farmer in Uasin Gishu in the Rift Valley, said on Monday.
A community-based organization made him make the switch, after educating them about climate change and how to mitigate its consequences.
Ambuche knows that growing trees around his farm, farming short-term crops like tomatoes and onions, using green manure and irrigation are some of the mitigation measures he must use.
Moses Githaga, a shoe shiner in capital Nairobi, observed that climate change has interfered with the weather pattern.
Peter Murimi, a climate activist based in Nairobi, said recently that Kenya is currently dealing with repercussions of climate change and it is affecting people at the grassroots.
“Climate change is affecting people individually and collectively. But I am optimistic because many of those who are aware of it are younger people and are taking mitigation measures,” he said.
Murimi, who is also a climate storyteller, said that he is documenting the unfolding effects of climate change and sharing it with people.
Lydia Muithya, a climate grassroots leader in Makueni County, eastern Kenya, observed that most communities in Kenya are currently prioritizing climate interventions.
“Due to awareness, communities in Kenya and across Africa are coming up with viable solutions to issues affecting them. Climate change talk or interventions are no longer top down,” she said.
She noted that farmers in Makueni, for instance, are growing sorghum and green grams and have embraced water pans as climate mitigation measures.
Michael Okumu, the deputy director of climate change negotiations and finance in Kenya’s Ministry of Environment, acknowledged that Kenya has strong policies and legislative framework that encourage climate action especially at the grassroots, which has raised awareness.
“We started in 2010 by having the first national climate response strategy. This strategy has been cascaded over the years to communities which are implementing its proposals though finances are a challenge,” he said. Enditem