Assessing and mapping rainfall variability impacts on crop production in Burundi

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University of Dar es salaam
Burundi’s population is sustained by food crops, which are largely produced under rain fed conditions. However, late or erratic starting of rainfall, excessive rainfall, prolonged dry season are always cited as factors which cause crops failure and consequently yield reduction and thereafter, food insecurity. This study aims to determine rainfall onset/cessation, the length of growing season and identify wet and dry periods, and map wet and dry regions. Coefficient of Variation, Percentage cumulative Mean rainfall; Standardized precipitation index coupled by GIS interpolation and CROPWAT Software has been used. Analysis of the results reveals that, the rainfall start in the second dekad of October and retreat by second or third dekad of May, thus the length of growing season is approximately 6months in Imbo plain and depression region,6 months in Central plateaus ,and 7 months in Congo- Nile watershed area. Therefore spatial-temporal analysis shows that during 1989, central plateaus, western plain and northern region have recorded dryness while 2006, is considered as normal wet year, in which the whole country is wet except some portions in west and south-eastern regions. Based on agricultural year 2004/2005, it was found that, the effective rainfall was not sufficient to meet water requirement for crop growth especially maize. Because of rainfall variability, further research should be conducted in order to come up with an update calendar for agricultural activities. Moreover, intercropping system should be encouraged by finding new crop species that would have resistance to fluctuation and reduction in rainfall and agricultural traditions. In this regard, National Research Institutions should be encouraged. Because of variability of rainfall in the study area, it is important to increase spatial coverage by including more rainfall station.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF TD418.B94M332)
Rainfall, Variability
Mbazumutima, J.B (2010) Assessing and mapping rainfall variability impacts on crop production in Burundi, Master dissertation University of Dares Salaam. Dar es Salaam.