Smallholder livelihood resilience to climate variability in South-Eastern Kenya, 2012–2015

Aschinger, Roman; Boillat, Sébastien-Pierre; Ifejika Speranza, Chinwe (2023). Smallholder livelihood resilience to climate variability in South-Eastern Kenya, 2012–2015 Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 7 Frontiers Research Foundation 10.3389/fsufs.2023.1070083

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Climate change, land degradation, demographic change and persistent poverty pose major challenges to smallholder farmers in the arid and semi-arid lands of sub-Saharan Africa. Though many studies have focused on how resilient these households are to shocks, very few studies deal with how household resilience varies over time. We provide a longitudinal analysis to assess how the resilience of smallholder households in south-eastern Kenya has varied from 2012 to 2015. We use the Livelihood Resilience Indicator Framework to examine the linkages between livelihood outcomes and livelihood resilience (buffer capacity, self-organization and capacity for learning). We collected data from 134 households on three resilience dimensions: buffer capacity, self-organization, and capacity for learning. We performed principal component analysis to identify the key components of these dimensions and examine their relevance for livelihood outcomes. Our findings show that under drought conditions in 2012, conservation agriculture practices significantly contributed to maize yields. In both years 2012 and 2015, there was a positive correlation between resilience dimensions and food security. Key components of this relation were land area, income, conservation agriculture practices, climate forecasts and actions taken for the upcoming growing season.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences HAFL
School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences HAFL > Multifunctional Forest Management > Forest Policy and International Forest Management


Aschinger, Roman;
Boillat, Sébastien-Pierre0000-0002-8035-6335 and
Ifejika Speranza, Chinwe


G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
S Agriculture > SB Plant culture




Frontiers Research Foundation


[UNSPECIFIED] Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) ; [UNSPECIFIED] Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), UK




Sébastien-Pierre Boillat

Date Deposited:

10 Jan 2024 10:15

Last Modified:

10 Jan 2024 10:15

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

resilience index, smallholder farming, food security, livelihood resilience, climate resilience, drought, conservation agriculture




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