Agriculture is Murang’a County’s main economic activity. It plays a crucial role in food and nutrition security and accounts for 57% of the county’s employment.
Murang’a County’s main farming systems are cash crop farming, mixed subsistence farming, livestock keeping, and fish farming. These systems range from large- to small-scale.
Under the National Agricultural and Rural Inclusive Growth Project, four value chain commodities -local chicken, dairy cattle, avocado, and banana- have been prioritized in Murang’a County, based on their economic value and resilience, the number of people engaged in the value chain, and their contribution to food security and income.
These four value chains’ potential depends on the agro ecological zones in which they are farmed. Dairy cattle is mainly practiced in the upper highland and midland agro ecological zones due to favorable climatic conditions while local chicken, avocado and banana are mainly farmed in the upper and lower midland agro ecological zones.
An estimated 23% of the county’s total population is considered food poor, while 19% of the county’s population of children under 5 exhibits stunted growth, and 1% of the county’s population of children under 5 is wasted (KDHS, 2014).
Murang’a County faces challenges that limit its agricultural productivity. These challenges include high prices, pests and diseases, post-production losses, poor road networks, and the decreasing availability of land.
Historically, the lower midland agro ecological zone of the county experience more dry spells, moisture stress than the upper highland and midland agro ecological zones. Conversely, the latter zones experience more flood risk and erosion risk than the lower midland agro ecological zones.
Murang’a County’s on-farm climate change adaptation strategies include water harvesting, conservation agriculture, the use of drought-tolerant and early-maturing breeds, timely planting and breeding, conserving fodder, the use of certified agricultural inputs, diversifying value chains, and the use of sustainable land management practices such as grass strips, fanya juu, retention ditches, and trash lines.
Murang’a County’s off-farm climate change adaptation strategies include the use of early warning systems, weather advisories, extension, training, and credit facilities, proper post-production handling, the use of storage facilities, indigenous knowledge, and gathering market information.
The county has adopted several national policies geared toward adapting to climate change and its associated risks. These policies provide information to farmers, enabling them to plan, make viable economic decisions, and adapt to anticipated climatic risks.