climate.jpgClimate experts have predicted that the Southern Africa rainfall patterns for the October 2010 to March 2011 rainfall season will be between normal to above normal, with the second part of the season which is January to March, likely to be characterised by extreme weather conditions such as floods and cyclones.

Over the past few years, rainfall patterns in Zimbabwe have been erratic, with the rain season starting as late as January thereby throwing into turmoil farmers’ plans.

 

During other seasons, the country and the region at large has received limited rains due to changing weather patterns leading to food deficit.

 
While large commercial farmers have invested heavily on the drilling of boreholes and construction of dams, small holder farmers who depend on natural rains have been left in the cold

 

As has always been the norm, climate experts from the region convened in Harare for 10 days to study the signals being sent from the oceans and come up with a consensus  on what the 2010/2011 rain season holds for the southern African states.

 

The meeting by the climate and weather experts is meant to give guidance to governments, non-governmental organizations and farmers.

While the 2010 to 2011 rainfall season predictions are going to be a breath of fresh air to most farmers, the 2nd phase of the season is likely to be above normal and characterized by extreme weather conditions such as floods and cyclones in some parts of the region.

 

This, according to Dr Amos Makarau, might be a result of climate change and is the clarion call for developed countries to act on mitigation measures on climate change.

 

Malawi Deputy Coordinator for Disaster Management, Mrs. Gift Mafuleka said civil protection units should brace themselves and be on guard to assist people in the event that the floods occur.

 

Stakeholder, Mr. Evis Siamchoka of Zambia said the climate data is of great importance to the region as governments and other stakeholders will need it for planning.

However, with the rainfall season likely to be normal in the first phase, the challenge is on farmers to be on guard and ensure that they make use of the October to December season.

 

Local farmers and stakeholders in the agriculture have been encouraged to be on the lookout as the effects of climate change are still in our midst and might lead to the rainfall season being different from the results of the predictions.