Communal farmers have urged the government to combine climate change adaptation measures developed by indigenous people over the years with new researches being carried out. This is expected to help the country come up with a vibrant climate change adaptation measure in the face of climate instability.
Traditional weather signs, such as the blowing of West to East winds or certain cloud formations, no longer signal happiness for Jesca Mudavanhu as she prepares her plot to plant a maize crop on the outskirts of Mt Hampden.
Jesca is one of many subsistence farmers in Zimbabwe who are finding that changing weather patterns are making the already difficult job of farming even harder.
For Mudavanhu, if peasant farmers need good harvests, they need to adopt survival measures such as mulching since weather patterns are becoming more unpredictable.
Many subsistence farmers in Zimbabwe have seen dwindling output from their crops especially those in low lying areas who face threats of extreme weather patterns such as floods.
Some communal farmers who spoke to ZBC News urged the government to combine climate change adaptation measures developed by indigenous people with new researches being carried out by the University of Zimbabwe climate change department.
Environment and Natural Resources Management Minister Cde Francis Nhema said his ministry in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture, MehanisationÂ and Irrigation Development are on a campaign to educate farmers on the need to adapt to the changing weather patterns.
â€œResearch has revealed that rainfall variability would increase, the start of the rainy season would likely shift, flood risk would be higher, and the centre of the country would suffer more intense cyclones and droughts hence the need for immediate mitigatory measures,â€ said Cde Nhema.
Since 1997, world leaders, under the auspices of the United Nations, have held yearly meetings to address changing weather conditions. In December last year, delegates gathered in Copenhagen with high hopes that a solution would be hammered out to address the changing climate.
Although farmers like Jesca are rarely found at such global conferences, they are among the most affected. Research by the University of Zimbabwe reveals that, exposure to natural disaster risk will increase significantly over the coming 20 years and beyond.
It states that in the event of poor global mitigation results – the “too little, too late” scenario – temperatures in Zimbabwe could rise by as much as two degrees celsius to 2.5 degrees celsius by 2050, and by 5 degrees celsius to 6 degrees celsius by 2090.