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An oasis in the dryland of Kenya! The case of irrigation as an adaptation strategy among the transitioning pastoralists and agro-pastoralists of Laikipia County, Kenya

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Irrigation as a climate-smart practice in agriculture is identified as a strategy accompanying the transformation witnessed where the dryland community is transitioning from pastoralism to agro-pastoralism. This community is learning and nurturing new adaptation strategies to adapt to the diminishing yet crucial natural resources. This article identifies the socio-economic factors that encourage or hinder the uptake of irrigation as an adaptation strategy among the dryland community in Laikipia County, Kenya. The Heckman probit model is used first, to assess a total of 494 household on how they perceive climate change, and secondly it identifies the drivers that either encourage these households or hinder them from adopting irrigation as an adaptation strategy. Results indicate that 80% of the households investigated experience the indicators of climate change, out of this, 32% adopted irrigation as an adaptation strategy to climatic changes among other livelihood changes. The drivers encouraging this uptake are identified as: quality of land for food production (1.152∗∗), assistance received from government (0.906∗∗), large livestock herd size, governance of community land tenure (1.556∗∗) and agronomic information (1.094∗∗∗). There is low possibility of adopting irrigation by older household heads (−0.0219∗) and those with small livestock herds (−0.473∗). The sustainable development of agriculture promoted in these dryland regions requires a broader policy response that looks at the sustainability of irrigation as an adaption strategy in the dryland. © 2021 Elsevier Ltd

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