Response to drought among small scale farmers in chief Nyawa's area, Kazungula district, Southern Province
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This study investigated drought perception and responses to drought by small- scale farmers in chief Nyawa's area in kazungula District, Southern Province. It assessed the occurrence of drought, impact of drought on maize production and the assistance given to farmers by Government and NGOS. The following were the objectives of the study; a)To indentify the impacts of drought on maize production b)To assess drought perception and adjustments among small- scale farmers. c)To assess the responses to drought and the assistance rendered to the farmers by Government and NGO'S.A Survey questionaire containing structured, semi-structured and open ended questions was used to collect primary data from small-scale farmers. Secondary data were obtained from existing literature and unpublished sources. Data were coded and analysed using statistical tests and the results were mainly presented in tabular and graphical forms. Analysis of results revealed that droughts in chief Nyawa's area occur more frequently than wet years and that it was widely believed by farmers that droughts were becoming more frequent in occurrence. It was also revealed that droughts of 1991/92 and 1994/95 seasons had significant adverse effects on maize yields.Due to the persistence of drought in the area, a wide range of both and off-farm drought mitigation adjustments were carried out by small-scale farmers as responses to drought. However, the adoption of effective practices need to be supported. The main adjustments to minimise the risk of crop failure due to drought included early planting, using early maturing maize varieties, mixed cropping and crop diversification. Off-farm drought mitigation strategies included selling livestock to towns, selling second-hand cloths and operating small shops. Most farmers became Anti-loan due to little or no income realised after repaying loans to some private input dealers especially in drought situations. Government assistance to farmers included agricultural extension services and the provision of food for work. The assistance given by NGOS involve the provision of inputs on loan basis. Recommendations to farmers included placing of more emphasis on diversification to drought tolerant food and cash crops, full utilization of available sources of information in implementing drought mitigation adjustments, and farmers' involvement in other off-farm income generating activities to prevent hunger during drought. Recommedations made to Government included the provision of vital infrastructure to support irrigation, provision of Government regulated credits for agricultural inputs and other capital-intensive drought mitigation adjustments and the empowerment of farmers through the provision of title deeds.
- Natural Sciences