KMT Research Brief
Projected Climate Change and its Potential Impact on Cattle in Kajiado County
Globally, pastoralist and agro-pastoralist communities are amongst the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change (Thornton et al., 2009). Increasing climate variability and extreme events will affect livestock production and productivity, incomes and food security. Pastoralists and agro-pastoralists already face a number of challenges, and climate change can be seen as just one of the many important drivers affecting their livelihoods. Other drivers include changes in land tenure and land use, population growth, sedentarisation, rapid urbanisation, globalisation, conflict, intensification and institutional changes (Behnke, 2008; Galvin, 2009).
Livestock And Climate Trends
Five of Kenya’s ASAL counties (West Pokot, Laikipia, Turkana, Baringo and Narok) have already passed the 1.5°C average warming threshold, which is enshrined in the Paris Agreement, with 12 more counties projected to follow by 2050. By 2070, maximum temperatures in all counties are expected to exceed 1.5°C, and in the counties of Wajir, West Pokot and Tana River, temperature increases will exceed 2°C. Projections indicate that the impacts of climate change will be significant in the ASALs, as detailed in the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C published in October 2018.
1. Potential impacts of climate on cattle population, people and the economy
The analysis indicates that the temperature in Kajiado County will increase by between 1.00oC to 3.10oC depending on the climate scenario and time period. For the 2030s, it is projected that about 74,000 cattle might be affected by extreme temperatures in the county. The number of people relying on cattle will also be affected and by 2030s, it is projected that a population of about 135,400 people will be affected based on a population growth rate of 3.5%5. In terms of cost, the loss of these cattle from production is estimated to be between Ksh 1.45 and Ksh 2.9 billion based on current cattle prices6. This represents a huge loss to the pastoral community in Kajiado, and argues the need for steps to cushion them from climate change for their economic and social well-being.
2. Livestock trends
Kajiado County has the second largest population of cattle (286,191) and fifth largest population of sheep and goats (963,585) amongst the 21 ASAL counties. However, it registered a 41.7% decline in cattle and 39.9% increase in sheep and goats population. At a landscape level, Amboseli Plains (-61%) and Rift Valley (-52%) registered the highest declines in cattle population and Central Hills (-41%) registered a moderate decline and Athi Kaputiei (-14%) the least decline. The trends in sheep and goats showed that the highest increase was registered in Amboseli Plains (72%) followed by Rift Valley (61%) then Central Hills (57%). A slight decline was observed in Athi Kaputiei (-7%).
3. Projected climate trends
On average for RCP 2.6, the maximum temperature will increase by 1.14oC in 2030s, 1.26oC in 2050s and 1.10oC in 2070s. RCP 4.5 maximum temperature will increase by 1.00oC in 2030s, 1.55oC in 2050s and 1.83oC in 2070s. RCP 8.5 maximum temperature will increase by 1.35oC in 2030s, 1.99oC in 2050s and 3.10oC in 2070s. Projected climate hotspots in Kajiado County are Amboseli Plains and Rift Valley. Under all projections Rift Valley will be the warmest.
4. Land tenure
Land tenure changes in Kajiado County indicate that 64% of the county has been subdivided and privatised, 20% of land is still under group ranch, 4% under protected areas, 4% under lease to Magadi Soda Company, and 8% is under transition from group ranch to private land.
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