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How Kenyan farmers are adapting to climate change

Farmers in Kenya are using various innovative ways to adapt to the effects of climate change. PHOTO/PEXELS
IRIN-Seven in 10 of Kenya’s rural population makes a living from agriculture, mostly on small plots. In a good year, subsistence farmers harvest enough to feed themselves and their families, with perhaps a little surplus to sell at market.
But like farmers across Africa, those in Kenya are particularly vulnerable to climate change. This is largely because almost all of them depend on rainfall to water their crops, and rainy seasons are becoming shorter and less regular. Rains were especially sparse towards the end of 2016 and in early 2017, leading to a prolonged drought this year. The number of people classed as food insecure, meaning they no longer have constant, reliable access to the right kind of food needed to live a healthy life, has doubled.
Faced with forces beyond their control, those working the soil to make a living have had no choice but to change the way they farm.
These four films show the different ways Kenyan farmers are adapting to the realities of climate change.
1) Turning the sun from foe to friend
One major effect of climate change is rising temperatures. Too much heat can be damaging to crops, especially when water is scarce and rainfall becomes less predictable. And when a harvest is all farmers have to make ends meet, a low yield can spell disaster, literally taking food off the family dinner table. As Lucia Ngao in Machakos County discovered, poor national infrastructure can make the most obvious solutions impracticable. But, with a little ingenuity and a modest investment, fortunes can be turned around by making a friend of what was once a foe: the scorching sun.
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