PRESENTED TO THE 1ACCA 18th – 21st MARCH, 2014
LUSAKA
ZAMBIA
Willie C.J. Sagona
Forestry Research Institute of Malawi (FRIM),
Lake Chilwa Basin Climate Change Adaptation Programme
(LCBCCAP)
Presentation Outline
 Introduction

Study Methodology
 Data processing

Results and discussion
Conclusion
Introduction
 CA for agriculture development and food security in Malawi.
 Climate variability and unreliable weather patterns has made
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production unpredictable (Tadross et al., 2005).
Increases in mean dry spell length and reductions in rain day
frequency have been experienced in Lake Chilwa Basin (LCB)
These observations are also consistent with other spatial trends for
late onset and increased length of the dry season (Hewitson and
Crane, 2006).
In addition, there have been documented increases in temperature
over these same regions (Tadross, et al., 2005).
This has led to changes in land-use and multi-decadal climate
factors.
CA practice in Mw has the potential for an increased soil, water and
nutrient buffer capacity for a sustained stable productivity.
CA offers an opportunity to mitigate the effects of climate change and
variability.
Materials and Methods
SITE:
Methodology:
 Total farmers interviewed – 106
 85
CA
farmers
were
randomly sampled from 267
CA farmers
 21
conventional farmers
were randomly sampled from
EPAs as a control group.
 An interview guide was used to
collect data.
 Pretesting of the interview guide
 Field observation
 Rainfall data
 Respondents had planted their
maize in the first wk of
December
Data processing
 The data was entered and analyzed using SPSS version
16.0.
 Descriptive statistics were used to compute or calculate
some of the common measures of numerical scale of
measurement:
 Averages
 Skewness and kurtosis
 Standard deviation and ranges.
 Microsoft Excel was also used to summarize and analyze
rainfall data.
Results and discussion
 HOUSEHOLD AND LAND
HOLDING SIZE
 The hhs involved in the study have
on avge 5.7 persons
 Among the sampled hhs, 54.7%
reported more than six hh
members.
 2004/05 Income and Household
Survey - a mean hh size of 4.5,
with 30.3% reporting 6 or more hh
members.
HOUSEHOLD AND LAND HOLDING SIZE…Cont’d
 The study reported a mean land
holding size of 0.2 ha.
 Mw has one of the highest popn
densities in SSA with 0.23 ha of
arable land per capita (Concern
Universal , 2011)
 The
small
land
holding
predisposes
small
holder
farmers to vulnerability because
their land holdings are very
unproductive.
CA performance during the dry spell
 83.6% of the respondents
noted that CA fields survived
the water stress condition.
 52% attributed this to CA
farming technology while
others
cited
soil
type
(16.1%) and time of planting
(25.5%) as being the
reason.
 Field observations - CA
fields had survived the dry
spell even though the impact
of the dry spell could not be
completely eliminated.
CA performance…Cont’d
 It is rather early to attribute
the
findings
to
CA
supremacy
but
the
difference between CA and
other
fields
were
so
fascinating
to
ignore
especially in the face of the
dry spell.
 These findings can only be
confirmed through further
studies that deliberately
isolate input supply levels
under
different
farming
systems, soil type and time
of planting.
CA in the wake of dry spell
 31.4% of respondents planted their maize in December using
hybrid seed.
 Success of a chosen cultivar for planting the rain-fed maize
crop is largely dependent on characteristics of the climate,
and in particular rainfall, during the growing period (Tadross et
al, 2005).
 Cumulative rainfall data (≈700mm) recorded from October to
early February across the basin EPAs show that the year did
not receive good rains when it was expected.
 The basin did not receive minimum moisture of 25mm of
cumulative rainfall in 10 consecutive days required to sow and
grow maize.
CA in the wake of dry spell
 The October and November rains were “false starts as they could
not even fall in 4 consecutive days in these months and in any case
did not accumulate to 45mm when they fell beyond one day” Raes, et al., 2004.
 Respondents (61.3%) indicated that it took at least two weeks
before the next rains came after planting.
Rainfall characteristics that may have particularly impacted on
maize growth during this period are: (1) long dry spells during the
germination and growth phases (limiting water availability), (2) high
intensity rainfall during the germination (resulting in water logging)
and ripening (resulting in rotting and fungal infections) phases
(Tadross et al., 2005).
 CA is thus beneficial to these farmers with respect to these shocks
because it has the potential to improve moisture storage in the
soils.
Maize production from the study area
 The study revealed a mean maize
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yield prospect of 550kg from 0.2
hectare, thus 2.9 t/ha.
Studies from elsewhere have shown
CA maize production of up to 4.5 t/ha
compared to 1.5 t/ha.
Farmers have attributed better yields
in CA to a mulching effect of crop
residue.
The findings vindicate the existing
evidence that CA improves soil
nutrients, increases the soil’s ability to
retain water (Kassam, et al., 2009) .
CA therefore ensures that productivity
can be sustained in the medium to
long term.
Conclusion
 Study affirmed the fact that CA performed
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well during the dry spell.
CA is most effective when promoted
alongside other ‘climate resilient’
agricultural practices
CA has been significant during these hard
times because it used the little moisture
that was retained under mulch to survive
the dry spell and gained vitality when
normal rains resumed.
However, it is no doubt that the dry spell
generally had a negative impact on overall
expected yield.
CA studies required in the basin on effect
of input levels and hydraulic conductivity
of soils.
THE END
THANK YOU FOR
YOUR
ATTENTION!!
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CA Performance During the 2011/12 Maize Cropping Season Dry