Agricultural production dynamics in the context of climate variability in Rungwe district, Tanzania

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University of Dar es Salaam
Climate variability is an immediate challenge affecting and threatening agricultural production and food security of smallholder farmers. It has increased the vulnerability of agricultural outputs and livelihoods of people who predominantly depend on climate sensitive resources. Against this background this study was aimed at understanding the dynamics, challenges and opportunities of agricultural crop production from the perspective of climate variability so as to boost resilience and enhance the food production. In this regard, the following objectives were addressed: I) To characterise the farming systems in Rungwe District; 2) To examine factors affecting main food crop production in Rungwe District; and 3) To assess the challenges and opportunities offered by climate variability in agricultural main food crop production in Rungwe District. The study employed a survey method to collect both qualitative and quantitative data. The former were subjected to content and trend analysis, whereas the latter were analysed using Microsoft excel and SPSS software. The results indicate variations in the agricultural crop production as a result of differences in the types of farming systems, socio-economic situation and implication of climate variability across agro-ecological zones. Land fragmentation, lack of information to inform the best adaptation measures and realisation of opportunities characterise the farming systems. In addition, lack of proper measuring units and poor record-keeping compounded the challenges to quantification of productivity and production trends that affect future strategies. Although, to a larger extent impacts from climate variability were negative, there were a few localised potential benefits to improve the livelihoods of farmers; however, the study revealed a problem in conveying opportunities arising from climate variability. Thus, the study concludes that understanding the challenges and opportunities of climate variability and other stressors is essential in developing adaptation options and minimising adverse effects on agricultural production. Finally, the study recommends the strengthening of the capacity of farmers and institutions in identifying and assessing the challenges within different farming systems by educating farmers and other relevant stakeholders on improving livelihoods, productivity and agricultural production. Such knowledge and initiatives require an appropriate information and support to meet the challenges, uncertainties and exploit opportunities in agricultural production, with particular attention being paid to packaging the information to inform the decision making process for all stakeholders.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF HD2128.5.G852)
Rungwe, Agricultural production dynamics, climate variability, Tanzania
Gwambene, B. (2017) Agricultural production dynamics in the context of climate variability in Rungwe district, Tanzania. Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Dar es Salaam.