Crop Yield Responses to Temperature and Rainfall Variability in Bolero, Malawi

By Elias Gaveta.

Published by The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Rural households in Malawi that depend on rain-fed agriculture have become increasingly food insecure and vulnerable due to floods and dry spells. Although, it is impossible to influence temperature and rainfall trends, it is possible to equip farmers with skills and knowledge on how to produce adequate food if certain climatic patterns are understood. An analysis of temperature and rainfall trends was carried out to examine how the trends influence the yield and production of Maize, Cassava, Millet and Groundnuts; and how farming practices have responded to climate variation. Sixty years rainfall data, thirty-two years temperature data, eighteen years crop production data and 120 household responses were gathered and analyzed. In addition to descriptive analysis, the following tests were done: correlation, regression, t-test, Mann-Kendall, and chi-square tests. It was observed that increasing temperature trends are associated with declining rainfall amounts. Monthly rainfall variations affect crop yields more than annual variations. The increasing temperature trend indicated the potential reduction of productive land over time (r=-0.499, p=0.018). Climate-smart interventions must emphasize a shift in attitude towards alternative resilient food crops apart from maize. Provision of short-term weather forecasts will assist farmers in adapting and mitigating the effects of climate change.

Keywords: Temperatures, Rainfall, Agriculture

International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp.43-54. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 779.799KB).

Elias Gaveta

PhD Candidate, Transformative Community Development, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Mzuzu University, Lilongwe, Mzuzu, Malawi


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