Climate change impacts and adaptation for dryland farming systems in Zimbabwe: a stakeholder-driven integrated multi-model assessment

Tui, S H and Descheemaeker, K and Valdivia, R O and Masikati, P and Sisito, G and Moyo, E N and Crespo, O and Ruane, A C and Rosenzweig, C (2021) Climate change impacts and adaptation for dryland farming systems in Zimbabwe: a stakeholder-driven integrated multi-model assessment. Climatic Change (TSI), 168 (1-2). pp. 1-21. ISSN 0165-0009

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Decision makers need accurate information to address climate variability and change and accelerate transformation to sustainability. A stakeholder-driven, science-based multimodel approach has been developed and used by the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) to generate actionable information for adaptation planning processes. For a range of mid-century climate projections—likely to be hotter, drier, and more variable—contrasting future socio-economic scenarios (Representative Agricultural Pathways, RAPs) were co-developed with stakeholders to portray a sustainable development scenario and a rapid economic growth pathway. The unique characteristic of this application is the integration of a multi-modeling approach with stakeholder engagement to co-develop scenarios and adaptation strategies. Distribution of outcomes were simulated with climate, crop, livestock, and economic impact assessment models for smallholder crop livestock farmers in a typical dryland agro-ecological zone in Zimbabwe, characterized by low and erratic rainfall and nutrient depleted soils. Results showed that in Nkayi District, Western Zimbabwe, climate change would threaten most of the farms, and, in particular, those with large cattle herds due to feed shortages. Adaptation strategies that showed the most promise included diversification using legume production, soil fertility improvement, and investment in conducive market environments. The switch to more legumes in the farming systems reduced the vulnerability of the very poor as well as the more resourced farmers. Overall, the sustainable development scenario consistently addressed institutional failures and motivated productivity- enhancing, environmentally sound technologies and inclusive development approaches. This yielded more favorable outcomes than investment in quick economic wins from commercializing agriculture.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Research Program : East & Southern Africa
CRP: CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Climate change adaptation, Crop-livestock systems, Vulnerability, Poverty, Zimbabwe, Pathways and scenarios, Models
Subjects: Others > Climate Adaptation
Others > Crop Modelling
Others > Climate Change
Others > Poverty
Others > Zimbabwe
Depositing User: Mr Arun S
Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2021 05:48
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2021 05:48
Official URL:
Acknowledgement: This work was carried out with financial support from the UK Government’s Department for International Development and Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office; the International Development Research Centre, Ottawa, Canada, and the CGIAR Research Program CCAFS. The views expressed herein are those of the creators and do not necessarily represent those of the organizations.The study uses farming systems data generated by the study on ‘Optimizing livelihood and environmental benefits from CR in smallholder crop-livestock system in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia: South African case study’, supported by the Systemwide Livestock Programme (SLP). Links were also established with the ACIAR-funded project on Integrating Crop and Livestock Production for Improved Food Security and Livelihoods in Rural Zimbabwe (CSE/2010/022). Thanks to Rajani Kumar for editing this paper and comments provided by Anthony Whitbread (ICRISAT), as well as the helpful feedback by anonymous reviewers.
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