Markets and Gender Interaction in Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation: A Case of the Coastal Kenya Sedentary Farm Households’ Experiences
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Climate change is a global concern which manifests on a multilevel perspective and sometimes distinct or nested within some geographical boundaries. At the sedentary farm household systems climate change is real and continues to have impacts across different agro-ecological zones. A participatory rapid appraisal survey aimed at investigating the role of markets and gender participation in climate change adaptation and mitigation was conducted using key-informant interviews and gender-based group discussions in Kwale County of the coastal lowlands of Kenya. Results indicated that there has been an enormous and an elicited rapid reduction of vegetation cover by 50% in the last ten years, a 45-50% decline in cattle and 30% sheep and goat populations. The loss in vegetation cover and diversity, translated to a rapid increase in soil erosion mainly from wind and running water. Critical to farm sedentary households was the shift in the seasonal calendar characterized by erratic nature of rains in intensity and spatial distribution. Markets played a crucial role in factor-product mobility where some of the factors and/or products were drivers for technology marketing and adoption as a way of adapting to and mitigating climate change. Market forces were also instrumental in increasing the demand for energy thereby leading to increased vegetation harvesting for fuel wood and charcoal. Compared to the last 15 to 20 years, markets were major sources cereal-based food resources by over 80% as demonstrated by the movement of such resources from urban markets to the rural farm households other than the reverse. Markets also enhanced technology transfer and adoption by over 30% among households. There were however radical shifts in gender roles within households such as men sourcing for water in the event of severe or prolonged drought, women participation in the construction sector and increased social networks that with increased women participation in business. Ethnic based frameworks for gender roles were generally on decline following collapsing of cultural pillars which in the past dictated gender roles. The paper further outlines and suggests critical impacts of climate change across some identified vulnerable systems and makes policy recommendations to deal with the issues raised.