Agriculture is the main economic activity in Bungoma County, with 78% of households directly involved in farming. It is the main source of food and provides raw materials to agro-industries.
Bungoma County is in the former Western Province of Kenya. It has two growing seasons that follow the long rains and short rains periods, with a start to the growing season that has usually been in late February or early March.
Agricultural production has declined over time due to the impacts of climatic change. This has posed a threat to food security: 42% of the population is faced with food poverty.
Most farmers in the county are reliant on rainfall, which can be unreliable and erratic. Rainfall and temperature fluctuations have led to increased incidents of pests and diseases, which in turn contribute to low crop yields and post-harvest losses.
Moisture stress, variations in planting seasons, excess and unpredictable rainfall, and high temperatures are the key climatic hazards affecting agricultural production in the county.
In response to the changing climate, farmers have taken up adaptation strategies for both crops and livestock production. Several organizations support farmers through off-farm interventions and services.
There is no clear policy framework addressing climate change in Bungoma County, which currently relies on national government policies. In addition, county government departments lack budget allocation for climate change challenges, making it difficult to bridge the gap between adaptation ideas implementation.
Extensive research on climate change, the formation of more producer organizations, proper and coordinated extension services, subsidies to farmers, insurance schemes, and targeted financing of climate change activities will cushion the population of Bungoma County against climate risks.