Impact of Rainfall Variability on Rural Tea Roads in Kericho, Kenya
Climate variability is a global phenomenon that is posing a threat to the infrastructure and agricultural sector. Intense precipitation often results in the deterioration of rural road infrastructure resulting in inaccessibility. Rainfall and temperature data from 1989 to 2019 was obtained from Kenya Meteorological Department. Data on Greenleaf and cost of repairs and maintenances are from selected tea factories managed by Kenya Tea Development Agency. Data on perception is based on a questionnaire survey of 398 randomly selected tea farmers. Results show that climate variability is experienced in Kericho (p < 0.005). There is a varsity variation in mean maximum temperatures F(0.05, 29) ꞊ 5.564 (p ꞊ 0.009) and mean minimum temperature F(29) =8.503 (p ꞊ 0.000). However, the linear regression analysis shows that rainfall has decreased (y ꞊ 2.5476x - 40.778) while the temperature has increased (y ꞊ 0.028x - 0.4473). There is a significant positive correlation between the amount of rainfall and cost of repairs and maintenances for five factories (r ꞊ 0.122, r = 0.046, r = 0.029, r = 0.255) except one (r = -.261, p ꞊ .466). Therefore, the climate has significantly varied from 1989-2019 and heavy rains occur periodically that damage rural tea roads, thus impacting negatively on tea transportation. There is a need, therefore, for heavy investment of emergency funds for repair and maintenance of rural tea roads based on rainfall variability and heavy rain return period pattern.
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