Author

Dan Wanyama

Date of Award

Spring 2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Geospatial Science

Department

Geography

First Advisor

Dr. Mario Mighty

Second Advisor

Dr. Sunhui Sim

Third Advisor

Dr. Francis Koti

Abstract

Climate change has intensified the risk of catastrophic natural disasters all over the world. Though impacts of the change are global, developing countries are more at risk. Although agriculture remains the backbone of Kenya’s economy, the sector’s dependence on natural resources increases its vulnerability to the aggravating impacts of climate change and variability. Climate system variations that impact staple food crops like maize (Zea mays) ultimately threaten the food security of the nation. This study examined environmental factors affecting maize productivity through regression analysis. A GIS suitability model for maize was also developed to identify Kenya’s different levels of suitability for the crop as a basis for facilitating informed decisions in planning and designing climate change mitigation and adaptation measures. To achieve this, GIS and Analytical Hierarchy Process were used and suitability model results were compared with results from field work conducted in four counties in Western Kenya. This report is sectioned into six chapters. Chapter 1 gives the background of the study. The chapter discusses climate change and its impacts on the already vulnerable agricultural communities in developing countries. It also links climate change, agriculture and food security and the researcher highlights the study’s objectives, questions and motivation. Chapter 2 is the literature review section. In this chapter, the author talks in detail about some past and current works in climate change, agriculture and food security. He also discusses some quantitative analyses done in these areas, most of which correlate climate change and agricultural productivity. Multi-Criteria Decision Making and GIS are also discussed here. Throughout this section, the researcher tries to identify some improvements that the current study incorporates. The third chapter gives a discussion of the methodology and data analysis while Chapter 4 outlines the results of the analysis. Chapter 5 follows with a discussion of the results as well as the implications of the study results to the government, farming and research communities. Research limitations and suggestions for future research are given in Chapter 5 and the report concludes with study conclusions in Chapter 6.

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