Communities challenged to adapt to climate change

Communities have been challenged to change their old ways of farming by adapting to changes in the environment and weather patterns which have been brought about by climate change.

This comes at a time when the Meteorological Service Department (MSD) has predicted normal to above normal rainfall in all parts of the country throughout the impending 2020/2021 cropping season.

Speaking to CITE on the side-lines of a climate change workshop held in Bulawayo, director for climate change management in the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Washington Zhakata, said communities need a mind-set shift towards  agriculture by growing new crops suitable for their areas.

“At times they (communities) may need to have a mind-set change towards agriculture itself and adapt to new crops that may be suitable for areas in which they live,” he said.

He said the era of doing business as usual in agriculture was over.

“Communities should embrace the issue of climate change to ensure that they take it very seriously and also factor it into their planning,” he said.

Zhakata said rains were expected to decrease significantly in the near future from 2021 up to 2040.

“Water harvesting would be very critical then because when we talk about decreasing rainfall it may even be year to year,” he said.

“Water harvesting techniques may result in agriculture moving on once the rains are not evenly distributed because of areas in which communities are.”

He said the current Covid-19-induced lockdown was also aggravating the effects of climate change on the communities.

Zhakata advised communities to follow closely the announcements by the MSD on a regular basis for them to plan properly ahead of the agricultural season.

“It is critical for communities to follow the announcements by the MSD on a regular basis for them to be informed prior to the agricultural season so that they can plan effectively and not be prone to losing finances and perhaps any gains from agricultural activities due to planning without any early warnings,” he said.

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