Monday, April 30, 2012

Climate change biggest threat to Zimbabwe farming

Jeffrey Gogo in via the Herald (Zimbabwe): Collecting memories from Zimbabwe's 32-year history, the reforms on land ownership stand prominent, apart from political freedom. The reforms represented a major shift in the balance of economic power within the agriculture sector, after Government transferred millions of hectares of fertile arable land to over 300 000 marginalised indigenous peasants from a few thousand white farmers.

For the new farmers -- both large-scale commercial and small-scale farmers not to mention their subsistence counterparts -- their biggest mandate is to provide food for the nation and for export.

But since the start of the fast track land reforms over 10 years ago, that goal is yet to be met.

During this period, Zimbabwe has been forced to import, on average, 50 percent of its annual grain requirements to cover local deficits. The reasons for poor food and agricultural production in a land-reformed Zimbabwe are numerous, key among them lack of funding, inputs shortage and lack of adequate agriculture skills as well as laziness.

However, the biggest challenge to farming and food security in the country today is not funding, it is not skills shortage but climate change and global warming. Changing climatic and weather systems pose a serious threat to agriculture, as they have disrupted rains, caused droughts and resulted in higher average temperatures.

They attack the very core of activities that make the farmers who they are, empowered individuals, whom without their overflowing agriculture produce, are just like every other individual -- disempowered and powerless needing aid....

Shona farms in Zimbabwe, shot by Ulamm, Wikimedia Commons, public domain

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