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International Journal of Research and Innovation in Social Science (IJRISS) | Volume IV, Issue II, February 2020 | ISSN 2454–6186

Impacts of Climate Change and Variability on Irish Potato Production

Beatrice W. Ndegwa1*, Dr. Fredrick Okaka2, Prof. Paul Omondi3
1,2,3Department of Geography, Moi University, P.O BOX 3900-30100. Eldoret, Kenya
*Correspondence author

IJRISS Call for paper

I. INTRODUCTION

Climate change and variability is one of the biggest challenges facing mankind today and influences almost all sectors of economic growth and development. However, the most affected sector is agriculture perhaps because climate is the main determinant of agricultural production. Climate change and variability is unpredictable and so its impacts are unexpected and it varies with location, social economic, environmental conditions and crop sensitivity (UNDP,2007). According Blom-Zandistra (2015), Irish potatoes (Solanum tuberlosaum ) is a very sensitive crop species to both temperature and rainfall. It does well in temperate cool climates with the optimum temperatures of 180c and moderate rainfall that’s ranges between 850mm to 1200mm in a growing season and at altitude between 1400m and 3000m above the sea level (KHCP, 2013). Among the non-cereal crops, potato is the most important food crop, ranking third after wheat and rice, in the world. This is because of its ability to grow in the high altitude areas where maize does not do well and can also grow well in areas suitable for maize (medium altitude and lowlands); its high nutritive value (in terms of calories, vitamins, proteins, potassium and fiber); its high production per unit area and time (can have three crops per year); its value as a cash crop; it is labour-intensive and generates employment in production, marketing and processing sectors; and has potential as an industrial crop in the manufacture of starch, pharmaceutical carrier material, soap, alcohol, biogas generation and animal feeds((MoALF,2016),

According to Frank et al (2014), the net effects of climate change on potatoes will either have positive or negative effects depending strongly on the specific production regions and ability of farmers to adapt production practices to changing conditions. This compares favorably with Muthoni, (2017) & Spore, (2015) who indicate that Impacts of climate change might be positive or negative depending on regions although they also said that, for many regions global warming will bring about a decrease in production due to changes in annual and seasonal rainfall, more erratic weather patterns and more intense and frequent extreme weather events such as heat waves, drought, storms and floods .This indicates mixed impact on potato production implying uncertainty and therefore need more research in different spatial and temporal (time to time) over the Earth surface.