Assessment of improved maize seeds as an adaptation option to the impacts of climate change and variability amongst smallholder farmers in Mbeya district

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University of Dar es Salaam
Assessment of the adoption of improved maize seeds as an adaptation strategy to the impacts of climate change and variability was conducted in three wards of Inyala, Tembela and Bonde la Songwe located in lowlands, highlands and rift valley agro ecological zones were respectively. SPSS software was used to analyze household survey data. Temperature and rainfall data were analyzed using Microsoft excel – Mann Kendel software. The study revealed that 93.3% farmers were within the age group of 45-54 and 55 and above giving a good impression on experience they had in farming. The study noted that 81.7% were aware of the climate change through media and from hearing the term in meetings while 18.7% mentioned that they did not know anything at all about climate change. Signs of climate change identified with percentage in brackets were; increase in temperature (32.5%), decrease in rainfall (30%), change in agricultural season (4.2%), delayed onset of rainfall (7.5%), and early onset of rainfall (0.8%) and (25%) were not aware of any signs. Climate data from TMA revealed both maximum and minimum mean temperature had significant increase at p<0.001. Rainfall had decreasing trend but not significant at p<0.005.Interviewed respondents argued that rainfall has decreased by 74%. A significant number of respondents agreed that improved maize variety can be a solution to adapting to climate change because of their traits such as high yield, drought tolerance, pest and diseases resistance and early maturity but also others argued traditional varieties to be better because of their ability to withstand climate shocks and resistant to weevils. The yield difference between improved and traditional seeds was big giving a surplus that could be sold to acquire other needs hence able to adapt to the shocks of climate change in case need arises. The information flow between farmers and agricultural/extension officers was 58.3% and only 5.8% had attended climate change adaptation trainings on agriculture. The study recommends further studies in the field of improved seeds and adaptation to climate change.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF SB191.M2T34R54)
Corn, Seeds, Climatic changes, Farms, small, Agriculture, Mbeya district, Tanzania
Rikanga, M. D. (2017)Assessment of improved maize seeds as an adaptation option to the impacts of climate change and variability amongst smallholder farmers in Mbeya district, Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam.