Moreover, they direct attention to findings made by Barron et al

Moreover, they direct attention to findings made by Barron et al. (2003) that indicate

that rainfall analysis alone is often unsatisfactory for identifying agro-meteorological conditions and changes. Hence, by using only a meteorological definition of drought to interpret impacts on agricultural production we would potentially overlook farmers’ broader perception of what is known as ‘agricultural drought’ (i.e., soil water drought), which occurs when there is lack of soil Ro 61-8048 mouse water in the root zone to sustain crops and pasture between rainfalls (Slegers and Stroosnijder 2008). While agricultural drought is not as drastic as meteorological drought, it is still a partial cause of loss in crop productivity and may also see more reduce viable grazing land, spread new pests and subsequently change livestock production strategies (Smucker and Wisner 2008). This complex bio–geo–physical interaction seems to reinforce farmers’ sense of drought and/or intense rainfall (United Nations Environment Program 2006; Slegers and Stroosnijder 2008). Since soils

in the study areas have low fertility, poor texture and are used intensively (Odada et al. 2009; Swallow et al. 2009), we argue that a combination of these factors and livelihood

outcomes helps to explain why farmers’ perceive rainfall as unpredictable or unreliable because it is simply no longer favourable to their food production PRKD3 needs. A comprehensive understanding of the way farmers interpret changes in rainfall dynamics is therefore important as an indicator of exposure to climate vulnerability. Locating sensitivities and differential adaptive capacities Historically, favourable rainfall combined with an abundance of fertile soils made the LVB an attractive region to inhabit (United Nations Environment Program 2006). But this historical suitability for farming has also led to a rapid growth in population density, from 1 million in 1960 to more than 30 million today and expected to reach 53 million by 2025 (Wandiga 2006). This population pressure has resulted in a fragmentation of agricultural land; for instance individual farming plots along the Kenyan side of the basin have decreased from 2.75 ha per person in 1975 to 0.5 ha in 2004 (United Nations Environment Program 2006). Our survey reveals that farmers in our study areas have even smaller plots, some even less than three acres per household (see Table 2).

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