Effect of Climate Variability on Agricultural Yields in West Pokot County, Kenya

  • W. K. Kiplagat University of Nairobi
  • G.O. Ouma University of Nairobi
  • A. A. Ali Umma University
  • P. O. Omondi IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Centre
  • J.T. Lolemtum University of Nairobi


Climate is a key factor of rain fed agriculture. Changes in temperature and precipitation are considered the most important climatic parameters that affect crop and livestock production in the semi-arid areas. This study sought to improve local understanding of the associations between weather and climate on agricultural yields so as to enable make appropriate adaptation measures. This was achieved by determining the relationships between climate variables and agricultural yields (crop and livestock) among small-scale agro-pastoralists in West Pokot County, Kenya. Primary data were collected from a sample of 384 household heads and validated through focus group discussions, key informant interviews and general observations. The historical agricultural yield and climate data for 40 years (1981 and 2020) was used. Stratified, purposive and random sampling techniques were used during the study. Data were analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Scientists (SPSS V22) and micro soft excel, linear regression, correlation analysis, coefficient of variation, and Mann Kendall test. Results of the household perceptions on agricultural production revealed increasing crop trends and a mix of increasing and decreasing livestock trends over time. High variability was observed for crops and livestock. Trend analysis of maize crop (Zea mays L.) revealed insignificantly no yield increase while bean crop (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) showed a significantly decreasing yield and a significantly increasing trend observed for livestock biomass measured in tropical livestock units (TLUs). For climatic trends, significantly increasing trends in annual and seasonal (only June July August – JJA and September October November-SON) rainfall trends which also match the household perception were noted. No significant trends in annual and seasonal average temperature except for December January February (DJF) season which do not match the household perceptions were observed. Correlation analysis revealed significantly weak negative relationships for crop yields and strong positive relationships for Tropical Livestock Units (TLUs) with climatic (rainfall and temperature) variables. Multiple regression analysis described 73.5% and 60.3% of the changes in crop yields and TLUs respectively was controlled by average rainfall and average temperature. The results are crucial in understanding the impact of changing climate on agricultural yields and are vital in the planning and development of appropriate and sustainable adaptation mechanisms in support of enhancing resilience of the small scale agro pastoral communities to tackle climate variability and change.

How to Cite
Kiplagat, W. K., Ouma, G., Ali, A. A., Omondi, P. O., & Lolemtum, J. (2023). Effect of Climate Variability on Agricultural Yields in West Pokot County, Kenya. East African Agricultural and Forestry Journal, 87(3&4), 20. Retrieved from https://www.kalro.org/www.eaafj.or.ke/index.php/path/article/view/650