Photo story: Responding to climate related risks to address food insecurity in Nyando, Kenya

CCAFS is developing Climate-Smart Villages (CSV), sites where researchers, development partners, local government, private sector and farmers come together to test climate-smart agricultural interventions. Photo: V. Atakos (CCAFS)

Field visit to see first-hand how the Nyando climate-smart villages respond to climate related risks in an attempt to address food insecurity.

On 7th May 2015, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) Program Management Committee and Independent Science Panel members visited Nyando climate-smart villages in Kisumu County, Kenya.

Background information on Nyando

Since 2011, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) has been facilitating a partnership around collective action in seven villages that integrates a science approach to deliver development outcomes in Nyando. The approach is based on a climate-smart village (CSV) model, focusing on improving local knowledge of climate risks and variability in seasonal rainfall, dry spells, and diseases and pests to inform farming decisions.

Welcome to Nyando, Kenya - James Kinyangi addresses visitors

The goal is to respond to climate variability, improve food security and enhance household incomes. This is achieved through the participatory testing of resilient
technologies, training to build the knowledge and capacity to change local practices and improve planning for adaptation to changing farming conditions. Through participatory action research approaches, the partnership is facilitating the testing of a portfolio of climate-smart agriculture (CSA) interventions, allowing farming households to make progressive changes to their crops and cropping patterns as well as introducing new resilient livestock breeds. Photo: S. Kilungu (CCAFS). Read more

New opportunities for scaling out climate-smart agriculture: Obinju smart farms

Obinju smart farm - Nyando, Kisumu County

In order to address challenges of degraded land, declining land size and seasonal rainfall variability, the young farmers in Obinju are testing the smart farm concept. The smart farm technologies include greenhouse farming of up to one - quarter of a hectare, combined with drip irrigation with the advantage of saving water. Other smart farm technologies include water conservation and management, seed bulking of fodder for livestock and horticultural crops. Photo: V. Atakos (CCAFS)

Smart farms - Nyando

The smart farms serve as demonstration sites for youth groups engaged in agriculture. They require intensive knowledge and skills to manage. Therefore, CCAFS is partnering with the private sector — Magos Farm enterprises — and government extension agencies to train youth groups as part of the process of advancing local adaptation actions. By linking farmers to credit providers and agrodealers, and working with the county government, CCAFS is proposing to scale out smart farms throughout the county. Photo: S. Kilungu (CCAFS).

Read more about the smart farms.

Kenyan policy makers also took part in this field visit to interact with farmers and researchers. During this visit, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (MEWNR) was represented by Engineer Omedi Jura (left in the picture above). In the CSVs, we work closely with the county department of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries who offer extension support on sustainable land management, crop husbandry and seed systems, post-harvest processing, soil and water conservation. The department also offers extension support on livestock fodder development and capacity building on improved livestock management. Photo: V.Atakos (CCAFS)

Resilient small livestock (Galla goats, red Maasai sheep) and agroforestry

Galla Goats

From 2011, CCAFS through the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI),  and other partners are working to improve productivity of small livestock — sheep, goats and poultry. Joshua Omollo (second right in blue) is one of the farmers actively involved in this intitiative. On his 0.1 hectare farm, he has diversified into better adapted cross breeds of Galla goats to meet food security and income needs of his household. These goats mature and reach market weight faster than the indigenous East African goats. Photo: V.Atakos (CCAFS).

Read more about the initiative.


Apart from the Galla goats, Joshua has planted agroforestry tree species on his farm (Grevillea robusta and Gliricidia sepium). About 23,500 multipurpose trees have also been planted in homesteads and the local community is establishing a two acre demonstration woodlot. These efforts aim to at least ensure each climate-smart farm meets the government policy to have 10 percent on-farm tree cover. Photo: S. Kilungu (CCAFS).

Read more about agroforestry.

Red Maasai sheep

Farmers in Nyando are now keeping Red Maasai sheep, set up with the help of ILRI researchers. The Red Maasai sheep is reared for meat and is preferred due to its faster growth rate, resistance to internal parasites, tolerance to trypanosomes, drought and heat stress. Photo: V. Atakos (CCAFS)

Watere pan

Champion farmers in the CSVs have established a number of land management initiatives. This includes construction of water pans and terraces to control soil and water movement on their farms. Photo: V. Atakos (CCAFS)

Climate services

CCAFS is working with Maseno University, University of Reading and Kenya Meteorological Services to test models for developing and delivering seasonal forecast
and climate services and information. This includes the use of information communication technologies (ICTs) to improve decision making in agriculture. Through Magos Farm Enterprises, seasonal forecasts are disseminated via mobile telephone, together with agro advisories to enable farmers to know when and what to plant. Photo: S. Kilungu (CCAFS).

Read more about climate services in Nyando.

Standard Assessment of Mitigation Potential and Livelihoods in Smallholder Systems (SAMPLES)

GHG measurement - ILRI

CCAFS is supporting work by ILRI, the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) on measurement of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under different farmer practices and systems in the villages. Evidence from the project (Standard Assessment of Mitigation Potential and Livelihoods in Smallholder Systems - SAMPLES) will be used to develop an inventory of on-farm mitigation strategies which will be used to inform the government to develop policy on managing emissions in changing agricultural practices. Photo: V. Atakos (CCAFS).

Read more about GHG measurement in Kenya.

GHG Measurement in Kisumu

Greenhouse gas emissions measurements demonstration during the field visit to Nyando. This ongoing work could lay the groundwork for similar efforts across the continent. Photo: S. Kilungu (CCAFS)

Appreciating guests - CBO members

In Nyando, CBOs are helping farmers increase their capacity to adapt to climate change through collective action. The CBOs bring together over 50 mixed farmer and youth groups across 106 villages in Nyando. More than 60% of the members are women or youth below the age of 25. The CBO members appreciated the visit and urged participants to call on them more often. Photo: S. Kilungu (CCAFS)

View all photos: CCAFS Program Management Committee and the Independent Science Panel visit to Nyando Climate-Smart Villages


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Story compiled by Vivian Atakos, CCAFS East Africa Communication Officer.