Impacts of climate change and climate variability on agriculture and household food security in Kazungula district
Ambukege, Lusajo Mwakalesi
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The earth’s climate system has changed due to natural phenomena and anthropogenic activities resulting into increased atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gasses thus impacting negatively on agricultural production and food security. Climate change and climate variability is likely to be the major cause for low food production, food insecurity, crop failure, collapse of fisheries and livestock deaths due to alterations in temperature and rainfall. Zambia’s high dependency on rainfed agriculture will make it more vulnerable to climate change and climate variability. Kazungula district has experienced decreased crop production due to extreme climate events such extreme temperatures and precipitation which has a negative bearing on the four pillars of household food security. Therefore, the main objective of this study was to assess the impacts of climate change and climate variability on agriculture and household food security in Kazungula district. This research utilized both qualitative and quantitative methods of research. Qualitative and quantitative data was collected through household structured questionnaires, focus group discussions and key informant interviews. Secondary data on rainfall, temperature and agricultural production statistics was obtained from the Zambia Meteorological Department, Ministry of Agriculture and the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute. Research findings suggest that climate change and climate variability is real and parameters such as temperature and rainfall have changed in the last 35 years (1963- 1993). For example temperature has increased by 2oC while rainfall has decreased by 26. 5 percent in Kazungula district. Results further suggest that climate change and climate variability is a major problem for agriculture, household food security and rural livelihoods for majority of the people in Kazungula district. Climate change and climate variability has impacted negatively on the four pillars of food security (access, utilization, availability and stability). In terms of access, 64 percent of the households were food insecure, 91 percent were severely affected in terms of food availability, 84 percent had no carryover stocks affecting food stability and 73 percent were highly dependent on purchased cereals from outside Kazungula district with 72 percent accounting for vegetables and 62 percent for Sugar. Research findings indicate that 58 percent of the households were exposed to climate change and climate variability, while the elderly aged between 45 and above (56 percent) were more vulnerable compared to the youth headed households aged between 20 and 34 years (40 percent). Majority of the households were highly dependent on emergency and crisis coping strategies that included sending children to eat from relatives, reducing number of meals eaten per day by adults and skipping meals. The study concludes that Kazungula is being impacted by the adverse impacts of climate change and climate variability which has a negative bearing on agriculture and household food security. The study strongly recommends promotion and adoption of adaption strategies to build the adaptive capacity of local communities to enhance crop production and household food security. Key words: Climate Change, Climate Variability, Food Security, Agricultural Production.
The University of Zambia
- Natural Sciences