Perceived impacts of climate variability and change: an exploration of farmers’ adaptation strategies in Zimbabwe’s intensive farming region

Emmanuel Mavhura*, Tawanda Manyangadze, Komal Raj Aryal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Climate variability and change (CVC) affect many economic sectors including agriculture. In order to alleviate the negative impact of CVC on food production, farmers must adopt a range of strategies. However, the strategies will be less effective if farmers’ perceptions on CVC are not considered. This study therefore, examined the perceptions of commercial farmers on CVC and their adaptation strategies to the perceived impacts. It used a cross-sectional survey involving 365 farmers in the intensive farming region of Zimbabwe. Results showed that farmers’ perceptions on increasing temperatures and decreasing rainfall amounts were cognate with climate data from the meteorological office. The findings also demonstrated that farmers were well aware of the CVC impacts on their livelihoods. These include increases in the frequency and severity of drought, and a shortening of the length of the rainy season. However, the most significant changes were observed among the natural and economic capitals including soil salinization, reduction in grazing pastures, fodder and crop yields in addition to increases in food prices. In response to the perceived impacts of local CVC, the farmers were adopting crop and land use management strategies that include planting rotation, cultivating short-season varieties and drought tolerant crops, crop and farm diversification, intensified irrigation, agroforestry, soil moisture conservation and mixed farming. The study concludes that farmers are active observers of local CVC. Therefore, they should modify their agricultural calendar and diversify their farming systems so as to better meet current and future risks from CVC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3669-3684
Number of pages16
Issue number5
Early online date25 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this licence, visit


  • Adaptation
  • Climate change
  • Farmer
  • Perception
  • Strategies


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