Understanding the Vulnerability of Crop Production to Climatic Stresses in the Great Ruaha River sub-Basin of Tanzania

Noah Makula Pauline


Th is study broadens the understanding of crop production vulnerability to climatic stresses and other stresses
compounding the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in rural spaces of Tanzania, using data collected over six
months across two years, and compared to oral testimony covering the last 40 years (1970 to 2011). Both
qualitative and quantitative data were collected covering the full spectrum of stresses and responses, such as
climatic and non-climatic (e.g. poverty, education level, household income). Th e study employed focus group
discussions and household questionnaire survey during data collection. Th e results show that crop yield has
declined over the past four decades, because of climatic stresses, such as frequent droughts, prolonged dry spells
and occasional extreme rains. Climate related stresses compound the already weak subsistence agriculture, in
addition to other stresses, such as youth migration, lack of access to irrigation infrastructure and crop markets.
Challenges noted in this study are complex (both climatic and non-climatic), which shows how complex the
stresses aff ecting the lives of farmers are. Addressing them generally without defi ning the underlying contexts of
each stressor makes it even more complicated when trying to enhance the adaptive capacity of the farmers. Th us,
a holistic approach by targeting the whole system dealing with the agriculture sector is recommended.


  • There are currently no refbacks.