Coping with Extreme Weather in Arid Areas, a Case Study of Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe District, Zimbabwe

  • Juliet GwenziEmail author
  • Emmanuel Mashonjowa
  • Paramu L. Mafongoya
Part of the Climate Change Management book series (CCM)


The agricultural sector in Zimbabwe is dominated by smallholder rainfed production systems that are characterised by low productivity due to their sensitivity to rainfall fluctuations among other factors such as farm infrastructure, low fertility and access to financial capital. Initiatives to reduce vulnerability at the local scale demand an understanding of the exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity of the community. In this study we profile the extreme weather events by analysing climatic events observed by smallholder communities through key informant interviews, focus group discussions and household surveys and analysing measured rainfall data. Further we outline the coping mechanisms in the district and the challenges impinging on the resilience of the farmers. The results show that droughts, dry spells and extreme hot days were the major climatic hazards. The hazards combined caused yield losses of more than 90% in the worst-case scenario. Nearly once in 10 years, did the farmers get the best yields compared to once in 5 years prior to 1990s. Farmers responded by adopting water harvesting strategies, conservation agriculture and crop diversity. However, these adaptation strategies need to be supported by good policies, microfinancing, crop diversity and infrastructure development.


Extreme events Climate change Coping strategies Vulnerability 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juliet Gwenzi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Emmanuel Mashonjowa
    • 1
  • Paramu L. Mafongoya
    • 2
  1. 1.Physics DepartmentUniversity of ZimbabweHarareZimbabwe
  2. 2.University of KwaZulu NatalDurbanSouth Africa

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