The Significance of the Diversification of Food Crops in Abating Impacts of Climate Variability: The Case of Rungwe District, Tanzania

Atupakisye S. Kalinga, Richard Y.M. Kangalawe, James G. Lyimo


It is widely recognised that insufficient and unreliable rainfall threatens the status of food security among farmers in developing countries due to their dependence on rain-fed agriculture. Consequently, the need to understand the importance of the diversification of food crops in abating the impacts of climate variability becomes imperative. This paper studies the diversification of food crops as one of the major adaptation strategies of the impacts of climate variability and its implication on food security. Data were collected through documentary review, household interviews, focus group discussions, key informant interviews, and field observation. Qualitative data were analysed using content analysis, while quantitative data were analysed by SPSS version 20 and Excel spreadsheet to summarize the results. The results show that the production of a variety of crops and the use of improved crop varieties were important aspects in the diversification of food crops that better cope with the impacts of climatic variability. The diversification of food crops has emerged to be one of the practices of climate smart agriculture (CSA), which helps farmers to adapt to the impacts of climate variability as it helps in reducing the risk of total crop failure. The study recommends that the government provide farmers with knowledge and skills about proper practices of CSA, and ensure improvement in extension services, which are important for accessing updated information related to impacts of climate variability, new technologies and associated adaptation strategies.

Keywords: climate variability, adaptation, food crop diversification, food security

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