Fitting it together: tradition, modernity and predicting the weather (Pg 82 – 84)

For many people in the semi-arid and arid lands of Kenya, livelihoods are primarily agro-pastoralist and pastoralist-based. A typical agro-pastoralist family, for example, combines smallholdings of semi-subsistence and rain-fed crops with keeping livestock. People are aware that the timing of the seasons is variable and appears to have become more so. To ensure food security for the season, the families require information and advice upon which to base a number of key decisions.

For pastoralists, these include what types of animals and livestock to keep and sell for the season, when to migrate for grazing pastures and which routes to take, how to select alternative livelihood options, when and how to manage pests and diseases, how to evade livestock losses, when to restock and when to return animals to kin.

Smallholders need to decide which crops and seed varieties to plant, when to plant, when to apply fertilizer and/or pesticides, when to weed, when to harvest, when to dry and winnow, how and when to store and which market has the best prices.

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