Effects of Climate Variability on Rural Road Infrastructure and Greenleaf Transportation in Kericho County, Kenya
Koech, Nancy Chemutai
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Climate variability is a global phenomenon that is posing threat to roads infrastructure in agricultural sector. Like other parts of the world, African region is said to be vulnerable due to its geographical location and low adaptive capacity. Road infrastructure in Kenya has deteriorated due to varying temperatures and rainfall patterns. Intense precipitation may cause flooding and result to damage in road infrastructure. However, research on climate variability and how it affects rural road infrastructure received relatively less attention in research. Kericho County rainfall ranges from 1800mm to 2700mm, and temperature ranging from 17 ºC to 19 ºC which impacts on rural road infrastructure. Its effects have been manifested through frequent damage to rural roads. The study sought to examine rainfall and temperature trends in the county in the period 1989 to 2019. It also determined the extent to which climate variability has affected rural roads used for tea transport. It also assessed tea farmer’s perception on climate variability effects on rural roads infrastructure and greenleaf transportation. By use of Yamane’s 1967 formula, 398 farmers were obtained. Tea farmers were randomly selected and questionnaires administered. Structured interview was administered transport managers. In order to understand budgets and expenditures, a separate interview was administered to managers of Tea Board of Kenya. Data was statistically analyzed (p<0.05). Rainfall and temperature data from 1989 to 2019 was obtained from Kenya Meteorological Department to determine rainfall and temperature variability. Results showed that there was significant variation annual rainfall (p<0.005). There was a varsity variation in mean maximum temperatures (p꞊ 0.009), and mean minimum temperature (p꞊ 0.000). Linear regression analysis showed rainfall had slightly increased (y ꞊ 2.5476x - 40.778) and temperature had significantly increased (y ꞊ 0.028x - 0.4473). Pearson product moment of correlation showed weak positive correlations between the rainfall amounts and cost of repairs and maintenances for Momul (r ꞊122, p ꞊ 0.691), Tegat (r ꞊ +.029, p꞊ .936), Litein (r ꞊.255, p ꞊ .449) and Tebesonik (r ꞊.046, p ꞊.922). However, Toror was negatively correlated (r ꞊-.261, p ꞊.466). This implies that as cost of repairs decrease, green-leaf amounts tend to increase (p꞊ 0.000). The study found that climate significantly varied between 1989-2019. Heavy rains occur periodically that damage rural tea roads thus impacting negatively on tea transportation. Rural roads should continuously be maintained to address uncertainties. There is need, therefore, for heavy investment of emergency funds for repair and maintenance of rural tea roads based on climate variability and heavy rain return period pattern. A comparative study should be done in other counties to understand climate variability on rural road infrastructure within those counties.