Climate smart crops for food and nutritional security for semi-arid zones of Zimbabwe

Jiri, O and Mafongoya, P L and Chivenge, P (2017) Climate smart crops for food and nutritional security for semi-arid zones of Zimbabwe. African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, 17 (3). pp. 12280-12294. ISSN 1684-5374

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Southern Africa smallholder farmers continue to be the most affected by the challenges of climate change and variability. The variability of climate demands the use of a variety of agronomic strategies and crop choices. Traditional drought tolerant cereal crops such as sorghum and millets are often chosen when drought seasons are anticipated. However, there are certain crops, originating elsewhere, that could help the smallholder farmers increase diversity of crops that can be grown in changed climates. Trials were conducted to test a basket of known and introduced climate smart crops in the field. The cereal crops tested were maize, sorghum, pearl and finger millet, and legumes: tepary bean (Phaseolus acutifolias), cowpea (Vigna unguiculata), Bambara nut (Vigna subterranea), groundnut (Arachis hypogaea) and pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan. A second experiment was conducted to determine the effects of inorganic fertilizer and rhizobium inoculation on the growth and grain yield of field grown tepary bean. Both experiments were laid out in a randomized complete block design with three replications. Due to drought conditions during the growing season, cereal crops could not produce grain yield, as there was no grain filling. Despite this, cereal biomass was 5t ha-1 for maize, followed by sorghum (1.3t ha-1) and millet (1.2t ha-1). Legume crops produced grain with cowpea yielding 568.1kg ha-1 of grain, followed by tepary bean (245.9kg ha-1) and common bean (227kg ha-1). This is important for food, nutrition and health security of smallholder communities. Tepary bean inoculated with rhizobium and had fertilizer applied produced higher grain yield than those without fertilizer or rhizobium inoculant (P£0.05). In conclusion, resource poor farmers, affected by drought effects of climate change, can adopt both cereals and legumes climate smart crops, in order to create food and nutritional security. This is crucial for food and nutritional security of vulnerable households affected by climate change and variability.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Research Program : East & Southern Africa
CRP: CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Tepary bean, Climate smart crop, Drought, Smallholder farmers, Southern Africa, Food and nutritional security, Legume crops, Semi Arid zones, Zimbabwe, Climate change
Subjects: Others > Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA)
Others > Semi-Arid Tropics
Others > Food and Nutrition
Others > Climate Change
Others > Food Security
Others > African Agriculture
Others > Legume Crops
Others > Southern Africa
Others > Zimbabwe
Depositing User: Mr Ramesh K
Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2017 09:02
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2017 05:10
Official URL:
Acknowledgement: Parts of this paper are based on a paper presented at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Research Day (2016) and published.
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