Assessment of innovations for sustainable livelihoods for smallholder farmers in response to changing climates in semi-arid Zimbabwe through farmer perceptions
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Musiyiwa K, Filho WL, Nyamangara J, Harris D. 2013. Assessment of innovations for sustainable livelihoods for smallholder farmers in response to changing climates in semi-arid Zimbabwe through farmer perceptions. In: Shumba-Mnyulwa D, ed. Innovation Systems for Resilient Livelihoods: Connecting Theory to Practice. Proceedings of the International Conferencee held in Johannesburg, South Africa, 26-28 August 2013. Pretoria, South Africa: Regional Agricultural and Environmental Innovations Network- Africa (RAEIN-Africa). p. 31
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/52053
Increasing sources of livelihoods and of income through appropriate innovation platforms may contribute to reduced food insecurity and increase resilience of rain-fed smallholder farmers in semi-arid areas of Zimbabwe. Negative impacts of climate change and variability are mainly projected for smallholder production. Small grain and livestock production will remain important sources of livelihoods for Zimbabwean communal farmers in semi-arid areas in future climates. Platforms for innovations for crop and livestock production need to be strengthened to decrease vulnerability of smallholders. The objectives of this study were to assess agricultural innovations in semi-arid smallholder areas and suggest innovations which may improve livelihoods in current and future climates through analysis of farmer perceptions. Sites selected were semi-arid Matobo (AER IV, V) and Chiredzi (AER V) districts of Zimbabwe. Livelihood sources were identified through household surveys. Interventions/strategies introduced by institutions and farmer organizations and possible gaps in innovations were identified through focus group discussions and key informant interviews. Climatic factors in both districts and soil fertility in Matobo were some of the main constraints to production. Crop technologies/interventions by institutions and farmer organizations included irrigation for horticulture, soil fertility management, improving access to fertilizer, and access to grain markets in Matobo. In Chiredzi technologies/interventions included small grain production and soil fertility management innovations. Farmers particularly in Chiredzi identified livestock production to be one of the most important sources of livelihoods. Poor informal markets and bargaining power as well as shortage of grazing land, in addition to pests and diseases were however cited as some of the main constraints to livestock production. For livestock systems there may be need for enhancing platforms for fodder production and grazing management and market access to increase income for households. Small grain production may be enhanced by innovations in processing.