Frontiers of Agriculture and Food Technology

Frontiers of Agriculture and Food Technology ISSN 7295-2849 Vol. 3 (7), pp. 306-316, July, 2015. © International Scholars Journals

Full Length Research Paper

Climate change risk on agriculture and response strategies by small holder farmers in Lake Victoria Basin, Tanzania

*Hasheem Mkapa, Nakaaya  Gertrude Sumari and Paul C. Benjamin

Department of Land Resources Research, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Dodoma, Dodoma, Tanzania.

Accepted 29 June 2015

Abstract

Lake Victoria Basin (LVB) forms an important ecosystem which to a large extent maintains the flow of the River Nile waters, and supports agricultural activities in the region. Climate change is among major challenging factors to communities that depend on agriculture for their livelihood in the basin including Tanzania. This study investigated the current status of climate change in particular temperature and rainfall and their implication on people’s lives and potential adaptations required. A combination of methods was used including trend analysis of both temperature and rainfall data and risk assessment. Social economic data and communities perceptions on climate issues were obtained through literature review, discussion with key respondents, and household (HH) survey to 10% of total number of HH in selected case study village followed with Focus Group Discussion (FDG) and a stakeholder’s discussion meeting. Results showed that out of 21 and 30 years, from 1979 to 2008 and from 1985 to 2011 for Mwanza and Magu stations, only 11 and 10 years respectively had chances of receiving rainfall less than 400 mm during rainfall season. The risk of having seasonal rainfall less than 400 mm in 30 and 21 years time was found to be 40% for Mwanza and 47% for Magu. In both cases much observed were increased rainfalls showing climate change. In this case the risk was categorized as moderate. Although climate change risk in the basin is characterized to be moderate, communities are now experiencing negative impacts on agricultural and water sectors such as increased crop pests and diseases, change in rainfall seasonality and drying of water sources of which all affects both crops and livestock production. Although there are adaptations in place these need to be strengthened through capacity building of the local existing innovation systems.

Key words: Agriculture, adaptation, climate change, Lake Victoria, impacts.