Blending indigenous traditional knowledge with scientific weather predictions to enhance livestock production in Baringo, Kenya

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For indigenous pastoralist groups in Baringo County, Kenya like the Ilchamus, Pokot and Tugen, life is governed by when and whether the rains will come.

Weather forecasting is therefore an essential part of their planning and decision-making processes.

Located about five hours’ drive northwest of Nairobi, these communities have so far relied on indigenous practices to predict the weather.

One of these practices consists of slaughtering a goat and examining its intestines and leftover feed. The pastoralists believe this helps to tell them when and where the rains will fall.

As weather becomes increasingly erratic, accurate and time-sensitive forecasting becomes even more important for planning crop and livestock activities.

To address this, the Kenya Meteorological Department has adopted Participatory Scenario Planning (PSP), a mechanism for collective sharing and interpretation of climate information for informed decision-making tailored to specific communities.

PSP provides farmers and pastoralists with essential meteorological information to guide crop type and variety selection, and livestock management. The process ensures information is effectively disseminated from national to community levels.

The Accelerating Impacts of CGIAR Climate Research for Africa (AICCRA) project has supported PSP as an entry point to enhance the use of climate information services and climate-smart agriculture for local conditions.

AICCRA Kenya develops tailored climate information services and digital agricultural advisory services that are inclusive of gender and society, especially in pastoral areas, to build and strengthen resilience.

Photo: Camels in Isiolo County, Kenya (photo credit: ILRI/Geoffrey Njenga)

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