The Role of On-Farm Rainwater Harvesting in Agriculture as an Adaptation to Climate Change

The countries most vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change require creative, affordable, and sustainable solutions to adaptation. Especially in the agriculture sector, these countries rely on local knowledge to develop and implement adaptation solutions. Today, a representative from World Vision Kenya (WVK) presented four technologies that drought-prone Kenya utilizes to harvest rainwater for use on farms as an adaptation to climate change.zai pits

  1. Subsoilers: Devices that help to break down hardpan soil and improve water infiltration into the soil.
  2. Zai pits: Pits that are generally 2×2 feet and are well fertilized with deeply loosened soil, which enables intensive planting and results in high yields from a small unit of land.
  3. Sunken beds: Well fertilized beds with deeply loosened soil that are especially suitable for vegetable gardening. Kenya instructs that they be no more than 1 meter wide to avoid people from trampling inside the beds.sunken beds
  4. Farm reservoir: Devices that trap road runoff for use on crops.

The representative from WVK acknowledged that these technologies all have their drawbacks—some can be tedious, costly, or time-consuming. Another challenge is a lack of national coordination and inadequate legislation to encourage use of these technologies. Despite their downsides, these are promising technologies that reduce runoff and soil erosion and could increase crop yield. In Africa, where food production is already stressed and the population is predicted to grow over 50% by 2050, agricultural growth and stability is essential. These four technologies currently in use in Kenya build on local knowledge to prevent further degradation of soil and water resources.