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      Adapting to climate change: Reflections of peasant farmers in Mashonaland West Province of Zimbabwe

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          Abstract

          Climate change is projected to have negative impacts on agricultural production in sub-Saharan Africa and this is likely to continue for decades, unless adaptation measures are implemented. The changing climate is a global challenge to sustainable livelihoods and economic development. Peasant farmers in Zimbabwe depend entirely on rain-fed agriculture, a situation that makes agriculture and rural livelihoods vulnerable to climate change. This paper discusses the findings of the study carried out in the Zvimba District amongst peasant farmers on their knowledge of climate change impacts and adaptation strategies. Semi-structured interviews, observations and document analysis were used as methodologies for data collection for the study. Purposeful sampling technique was applied to 40 peasant farmers. Qualitative data from interviews and focus group discussion were analysed using context analysis. Households acknowledged that rainfall amount has decreased over the last 30 years. Such changes have reduced agricultural productivity, and in response, communities have developed multiple adaptation strategies such as harnessing social capital, crop and livelihood diversification, engaging in small businesses and water harvesting for livestock keeping. The study concludes that there is a need to recognise the validity of indigenous knowledge and an inventory should be created for future use. The paper notes that diversification of adaptive strategies is vital for sustainable livelihood in a changing climate.

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          Most cited references 39

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          Are there social limits to adaptation to climate change?

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            Drought tolerant maize for farmer adaptation to drought in sub-Saharan Africa: Determinants of adoption in eastern and southern Africa

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              Agriculture in West Africa in the Twenty-First Century: Climate Change and Impacts Scenarios, and Potential for Adaptation

              West Africa is known to be particularly vulnerable to climate change due to high climate variability, high reliance on rain-fed agriculture, and limited economic and institutional capacity to respond to climate variability and change. In this context, better knowledge of how climate will change in West Africa and how such changes will impact crop productivity is crucial to inform policies that may counteract the adverse effects. This review paper provides a comprehensive overview of climate change impacts on agriculture in West Africa based on the recent scientific literature. West Africa is nowadays experiencing a rapid climate change, characterized by a widespread warming, a recovery of the monsoonal precipitation, and an increase in the occurrence of climate extremes. The observed climate tendencies are also projected to continue in the twenty-first century under moderate and high emission scenarios, although large uncertainties still affect simulations of the future West African climate, especially regarding the summer precipitation. However, despite diverging future projections of the monsoonal rainfall, which is essential for rain-fed agriculture, a robust evidence of yield loss in West Africa emerges. This yield loss is mainly driven by increased mean temperature while potential wetter or drier conditions as well as elevated CO2 concentrations can modulate this effect. Potential for adaptation is illustrated for major crops in West Africa through a selection of studies based on process-based crop models to adjust cropping systems (change in varieties, sowing dates and density, irrigation, fertilizer management) to future climate. Results of the cited studies are crop and region specific and no clear conclusions can be made regarding the most effective adaptation options. Further efforts are needed to improve modeling of the monsoon system and to better quantify the uncertainty in its changes under a warmer climate, in the response of the crops to such changes and in the potential for adaptation.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: ND
                Journal
                jamba
                Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies
                Jàmbá
                AOSIS Publishing on behalf of the Southern Africa Society for Disaster Reduction (SASDiR) (Cape Town, Western Cape Province, South Africa )
                2072-845X
                1996-1421
                2019
                : 11
                : 1
                : 1-8
                Affiliations
                Kadoma orgnameCommunity Capacity Building Initiative Centre for Africa Zimbabwe
                S1996-14212019000100015
                10.4102/jamba.v11i1.571
                6494948

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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                Figures: 0, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 23, Pages: 8
                Product
                Product Information: SciELO South Africa
                Categories
                Original Research

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