Sources of vulnerability to a variable and changing climate among smallholder households in Zimbabwe (Rurinda J. / Mapfumo, P. / van Wijk, M.T. / Mtambanengwe F. / Rufino, M.C. / Chikowo, R. / Giller, K.E.)

This article points out an interesting finding about the vulnerability of farmers in Zimbabwe to climate variability – that it is complex and not simply related to farmers’ assets. As such, better resourced farmers are just as sensitive to climate variability as the less resourced. Livestock farming, for example, although practised by resource-endowed farmers, is sensitive to drought. As such, effective support for adaptation must go beyond simply focusing on poor households. To investigate the nature and sources of vulnerability of smallholder farmers to climate variability and change, we analysed long term climate data and interviewed farmers individually and in groups in Makoni and Hwedza districts in eastern Zimbabwe. Farmers’ perceptions of changes in climate characteristics matched the recorded data. Total seasonal rainfall has not changed, but variability in the rainfall distribution within seasons has increased. Crop production was more sensitive to increased rainfall variability, largely affecting farmers with intermediate resource endowment. Availability of wild fruits and social safety nets were affected directly and indirectly by extreme temperatures and increased rainfall variability, impacting on the livelihoods of resource-constrained farmers.


Created Date: 04-11-2015
Last Updated Date: 30-11-2015
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