Farmer perceptions on climate change and variability in semi-arid Zimbabwe in relation to climatology evidence

Moyo, M and Mvumi, B M and Kunzekweguta, M and Mazvimavi, K and Craufurd, P Q and Dorward, P (2012) Farmer perceptions on climate change and variability in semi-arid Zimbabwe in relation to climatology evidence. African Crop Science Journal, 20 (s2). pp. 317-335. ISSN 2072-6589

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Farmers in semi-arid Zimbabwe prioritise climate variability as their major agricultural productivity-reducing problem. This paper raises the importance of considering local farmers’ perceptions on climate risk, as this greatly influences on-farm investments and decision-making in agricultural management and production in semiarid Zimbabwe. A study was conducted in two districts of semi-arid Zimbabwe using participatory research techniques, to investigate farmers’ perceptions of climate variability and whether these perceptions correspond with historical climatic data. The study showed that farmers perceived climatic and weather patterns to have changed over the past decade or two, as indicated by erratic rainfall patterns, decreased rainfall and temperature increases, leading to crop productivity decline and increased livestock morbidity and mortality. Majority of respondents (75%; n=81) were highly risk-averse, perceiving that most of the seasons in any ten given years could be poor. The climatic data show no evidence that corroborates the farmers’ perceptions, with only temperature showing a clear signal, indicating the influence of other non-climatic factors. The climate data show rainfall variability to be a normal characteristic of the study sites, with deviations from the climatic rainfall means (or the poor seasons) being cyclical and occurring once in every three seasons over the past 40 years. The study highlights strategies that farmers could implement to enhance agricultural productivity in the semi-arid areas to adapt to climate change and variability.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Others > Agriculture-Farming, Production, Technology, Economics
Others > Climate Change
Depositing User: Mr Sanat Kumar Behera
Date Deposited: 06 Oct 2012 05:33
Last Modified: 06 Oct 2012 05:33
Official URL:
Funders: Department for International Development-Protracted Relief Programme (PRP
Acknowledgement: This study was implemented by ICRISAT through the Protracted Relief Programme (PRP), a multidonor funded programme led by DFID. We are grateful to the Zimbabwe Meteorological Services Department for providing meteorological data, AGRITEX officers in the respective study sites (K. Mangwiro, N. Moyo, A. Ncube, K. Muchaitei, Mr. Chinamasa, Mrs. Mavidza, Mrs. Gono, and Mr. Mavhengere) for facilitating the study in various ways. Data collection was done through the support provided by five research assistants (Mthokozisi Moyo, Elson Chikovore, Simelokuhle Moyo, Georgina Hove, and Reward Moyo). A final acknowledgement goes to the farmers in Hwange and Masvingo districts for their wholehearted participation in the study
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