Are Maize Yields Robust to Climate Change? An Analysis at Regional and Micro Scales in Kenya

Monday, 15 December 2014: 5:00 PM
Frank Davenport IV and Chris C Funk, University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA, United States
We analyze the response of Kenyan maize yields to seasonal weather patterns across time and space. First, we model county level yields as a function of rainfall and temperature during a time period of increased regional warming and drying (1983-2011). Our goal is to determine if maize yields have become more or less sensitive to rainfall during this period and if this sensitivity varies over Kenyan growing regions. Then we analyze a panel dataset (2000 and 2004) with geo-coded measurements of individual farm plots, inputs and outputs. We construct a series of pseudo-experiments where we examine differences in yields from farmers who experience similar climate treatments but use differing inputs (seeds, fertilizer) and farmers who experience differing climate treatments but use similar inputs. This approach allows us to explore if different farming strategies can mitigate the potential negative effects that climate change may have on maize yields. We close with a discussion on the implications for food security and the potential trade-offs between expansion versus intensification of agricultural land in the region.