Adapting to climate change by adopting risk management strategies

Project description

Title: Adapting to climate change in Kenya by adopting risk management strategies
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) (as part of the International Climate Initiative – ICI)
Country: Kenya
Lead executing agency: Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture
Overall term: 2011 to 2013


The Kenyan agricultural industry makes the most important contribution to economic development in the country – it represents 24% of gross national product and 27% of the agro-processing industry.

However extreme weather events are increasingly causing significant losses. Experts estimate that the average annual temperature in East Africa will increase disproportionately by 2100 as a result of climate change. This will result in a greater frequency of intensive droughts, but also periods of extreme precipitation. Those working in agriculture must adjust their farming methods to accommodate these changes and at the same time they must insure against the risks of climate change. Weather insurance offers innovative solutions in this area.


Small farms, cooperatives, water user groups, processing enterprises and marketing companies increase their ability to adapt to climate change by undertaking active risk management.


The project aims to support small farms, processing enterprises and marketing companies in selected value chains. Other important partners include agricultural service providers, insurance companies and those responsible for climate issues in the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources. The project offers the participants support in assessing climate risks and selecting feasible adaptation strategies which they can provide for others or implement themselves. The partners at the national level benefit from the practical experience gathered by the project, which helps shape the political framework.

The project provides state and private agricultural consultants in the essential value chains with further training on how to adapt their consultancy services to the demands of climate change.

Another element of the project will involve working with insurance companies to assess the risks for the most important crops and the market opportunities for insurance products. The project aims to encourage the development of this market by explaining the costs and benefits of weather insurance to farmers. If business potential is created as a result, the private sector is expected to develop this market independently. This experience will in turn be used by those giving advice on how to develop a political framework for agricultural insurance in Kenya.

As part of the project, an innovative method is being developed which will be used to record and evaluate the effects on the farmers' ability to adapt.

The experience gained through the simultaneous development of adapted farming methods, new consultancy material and innovative insurance products will be analysed and communicated at both the national and international levels, and will also serve as a reference.

Results achieved so far

Through collaboration with the partners, the project enabled the development of risk profiles for seven districts and the definition of potential climate scenarios for the future. Adapted farming methods for the most important crops in the target region were then identified and related agricultural consultancy services were further developed.

In the first farming season of 2012, roughly 5,000 small farms will benefit from the project. State consultants and consultants from non-governmental organisations are providing farmers with advice on possible adaptation methods for the main crop – maize – and on other drought resistant crops such as millet. At the same time they are providing information about appropriate insurance products.

The experience gained from the project is playing a part in shaping Kenya’s Climate Change Action Plan. The process involves all relevant Kenyan ministries, the private sector and non-governmental organisations.