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Results showed that all interviewed farmers reported that they understand climate change (CC) compared to the current situation of the local climate against the past 20 years. The most prominent general changes included the following: decreasing amount of rainfall, increasing temperatures, rains have become shorter as well as erratic rather than usual and changes in the onset of rainfall whereby farmers believe that the onset is now unusually late as shown in the multiple responses in Table 4.4:

Table 4.4: Household heads’ perception on climate change in the study area
Perception Mkungugu (N=70) Mkulula (N=80) Total (N=150) (F and %)
Frequency (F) Percent (%) Frequency (F) Percent (%)
Rainfall decreases in amounts during main season 66 94.3 78 97.4 144(96%)
Rainfall increasing in amounts during main season 06 8.5 02 2.5 8(5.3%)
A temperature decreasing 04 5.7 02 2.6 6(4%)
A temperature of the area increasing 69 98.6 76 95 145(96.6%)
Rain starts later than normal 67 95.7 75 93.8 142(94.6%)
Rain starts earlier than normal 00 00 00 00 00(0.0%)
Total 212 302.8% 233 291.3% 445(296.5%)
Source: Field Survey (2018)

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Results from the study revealed that about 96 percent of the respondents perceived a decrease in rainfall in the past 20 years. Also 96.6 percent experienced increases in temperature and only 4 percent felt that temperatures have been decreasing. As for rainfall, about 94.6 percent experienced a shift in timing at the onset of rainfall that started later than normal. There was no respondent who felt that rainfall start earlier than normal (Table 4.4). Details are presented in Figures 4.7 as well as 4.8.
Figure 4.7: Farmers’ perception on state of local climate in the study area

Source: Field Survey (2018)
Figure 4.8: Farmers perceptions on the state of the local climate in the village level

Source: Field Survey (2018)

Study results at village levels (see Figure 4.8) reflected the overall impression of all villages. The results from each village revealed no major variation from household heads’ perception on climate change in the study area (as illustrated in Table 4.4; Figure 4.7). Household heads’ perception showed the same trend even at village level. About 94.3 percent from Mkungugu and 97.4 percent from Mkulula perceived rainfall to have decreased (Table 4.4). Also farmers reported shift in timing at the onset of rainfall that started later than normal. The data showed that over 90 percent in total whereby from Mkungugu accounted for 95.7 percent and 93.8 percent from Mkulula felt that timing of onset has shifted. Apart from shift in rainfall timing, 98.6 percent and 95 percent from Mkungugu and Mkulula, respectively, experienced increases in temperature. As for rainfall increase, about 8.5 percent from Mkungugu and 2.5 percent from Mkulula felt that rainfall has been increasing in terms of amounts, very erratic and it takes a short time to rain (Table 4.4; Figure 4.7; Figure 4.8).
4.4.3 Changes in rainfall and temperature
The perception of CC experience from the interviewed households was related to findings from FGD and in-depth interviews with the village leader, experienced farmers, local NGOs and district agriculture experts. The findings revealed that there is CC whereby rainfall has been reported to decrease or fluctuate as witnessed an increase in temperatures for the past 20 years (Table 4.4). In general, farmers trust that the rising temperature trend was related to rainfall changes. Perception of the state of rainfall was first explained by key informants and the FGD members in at village level as described in Box 4.1, Box 4.2 and Box 4.3.

Box 4.1: Perceived changes in rainfall onset in addition to CC by farmers and experts

Additionally, it was also known that in the past, local communities had their own ways of predicting rainfall. Such measures were very useful, though in recent years, they are no longer helpful.

Box 4.2: Rainfall prediction methods by household heads who attended FGD in Mkulula

Regarding the state of temperature, various views and perceptions articulated that temperatures have been increasing and cooling for the past 20 years as quoted in the box below:

Box 4.3: Temperature changes by experienced farmers in the study area

4.4.4 Reasons for Changes of the Perceived Climate
Respondents were asked how they understood reasons for changes of local climate based on their knowledge and their experience. Both respondent household farmers, invited farmers for FGD, experienced key informants and agricultural experts had different opinions on perceived changes of local climate. The most notable factor in the changes of local climate was environmental dilapidation at local level contributed by deforestation mainly, for agriculture/deforestation (70%), timber (2%), rapid population growth (16%), bushfires (10%) and remaining (2%) were unfamiliar with causes of changes (Figure 4.9).

Figure 4.9: Farmers’ perception on causes of climate change in the study area

Source: Field Survey (2018)

Different quotes were taken during FGD and expert interviews on factors for the CC.

Box 4.4: CC experienced by government experts in Iringa District, FGDs and farmers

4.4.5 Rainfall trend for Nduli Meteorological Station
To triangulate rainfall data from farmers’ perceptions, historical annual rainfall ranging from 1987 to 2017 was taken from Nduli Meteorological Station (NMS). However, the triangulation proved unmatched with responses from majority of households. There was a slight increase in annual rainfall at the rate of 3.02 mm (Figure 4.10) as supported by few respondents, 8.5 percent from Mkungugu and 2.5 percent from Mkulula (Table 4.4). This contrasted with majority of household heads’ perception of decreasing in rainfall amounts. This indicates that in some cases, the human perception may lose precision in comparison to recorded meteorological data. The reported increase in precipitation may be related to intense precipitation patterns, which occurred in 1997, 1998 and 2006 whereby most parts of the study area received high rainfall (Pauline and Grab, 2018; Kangalawe et. al., 2017). .

Figure 4.10: Historical annual rainfall trends from Nduli Meteorological Station (1987-2017)

Source: Nduli Meteorological Station (2018)

Figure 4.10 reveals rainfall fluctuations in the study area. Some years such as 1998, 2004 and 2006 had increased rainfall, while in 2001 and 2007, rainfall declined. Such secondary data are similar with results from interviews whereby it was disclosed that in even years, they normally receive heavy rainfall compared to odd years. In odd years they always received little rains with prolonged dry spells. For instance, in 1998 and 2006, respondents reported that they received heavy and erratic rains that destroyed their houses as well as crops, while in 2001, rainfall was very little with prolonged dry spells such that they were provided food relief because most of their crops dried before maturing.

4.4.6 Temperature trend for Nduli Meteorological Station.
Historical temperature data (from 1987 to 2017) were collected so as to confirm farmers’ perceptions on the state of temperatures in the past twenty years. Results revealed an increase in mean maximum temperature trend at the rate of 0.020C per year (Figure 4.11). Even though there is an increase in temperature there are some variations in terms of years with regard to the increase and decrease in temperatures. The most notable years with maximum temperatures were 1988, 1993, 1995 and 2010, while between 1990 and 1999 had minimum temperatures. The increasing trend and excessive temperatures have direct impact on farming practices in the area. For instance, in 1999, households reported to receive extreme temperatures with prolonged drought that affected their crops. Figure 4.11 illustrates details.

Figure 4.11: Historical annual temperature trends for NMS (1987-2017)

Source: Nduli Meteorological Station (2018).

The presented observations were supported by 96.6 percent of respondents in the study area who held that temperatures have been increasing in the past twenty years (Table 4.4). Increase in temperature appear to have been detected in the mid-1980s where majority of farmers started to feel that temperatures changed with much of the increase in 1990s and they have continued to present.

4.4.7 Climate Change Impacts on Maize Production
All interviewed households reported to be affected by CC. From interviews, it was disclosed that the highest experienced impacts were low crop yield caused by prolonged drought, dry crops, crop pests or rodents, crop disease, erratic rainfall, short rainfall and increasing soil aridity due to maximum evaporation. However, more impacts were largely reported in Mkungugu than Mkulula because the village has frequently faced prolonged drought, dry spells and attacks for their crops from pests and diseases that affected maize production. For instance, consultation with key informants in both villages revealed that in past thirty years, Mkungugu village experienced about ten major droughts, seven occurred between 1970 and 2009, only two severe events occurred in 2011 as well as 2013 and another severe drought occurred in 2015. Such weather patterns dried crops and thus, crop growth failure. Also DAICO reported that due to extreme drought weather facing Mkungugu village, the government constructed water harvesting dam in the village. In the contrary, Mkulula experienced about five major drought events (2000, 2003, 2005, 2011 and 2012). Figure 4.12 shows the impacts of climate change in the studied villages.
Figure 4.12: Impacts of climate change on farming activities at the village level

Source: Field Survey (2018)

In terms of crop/maize production, households reported noticeable decline in annual production compared to the past ten (10) years. The main factors for the decline were associated with CC, which influences on occurrence of prolonged dry spells (54%), crop pest (20.7%), diseases (16%) together with unpredictable rains, erratic and short rains (9.3%) (see Figure 4.12). Table 4.5 indicates overall summary of maize production in terms of sacks for past ten years based on individual interviews/recalls.

Table 4.5: Household maize production in the past ten years and present in the study area
Amounts (Sacks) Past ten years Resent year 2016/2017
Amounts (Sacks) Frequency Past ten years (%) Frequency 2016/2017 (%)
?5 32 21.3 94 62.7
6-10 47 31.3 42 28.0
11-15 35 23.3 12 8.0
16-20 19 12.7 1 0.7
21-25 6 4.0 00 00
26-30 5 3.3 1 0.7
?31 3 2.0 00 00
Don’t know 3 2.0 00 00
Total 150 100% 150 100%
Source: Field survey (2018).

Table 4.5 shows that in the past ten years, the highest percentage of respondent households that harvested 6 to 10 sacks accounted for 31.3 percent followed by 23.3 percent who harvested 11 to 15 sacks, while 21.3 percent harvested below 5 sacks. Another group (12.7%) harvested 16-20 sacks and 21-26 sacks were harvested by 4 percent of respondents. About 3.3 percent harvested 26-30 sacks and the largest household capable to harvest above 30 sacks accounted for 2 percent (Table 4.5; Figure 4.13). The remaining (2%) did not remember their harvests (ibid.).
Figure 4.13: Household maize production for the past ten years at the village level

Source: Field Survey (2018).

Based on these findings (Table 4.5), it shows that in 2016/2017, the rate of maize production among respondent households decreased. For instance, 3.3 percent decreased by harvesting 6-10 sacks, while 15.3 percent harvested 11-15 sacks as another decrease followed by 12 percent who harvested 16-20 sacks. There was no respondent household who harvested above 31 sacks in 2016/2017 in the study area.

However, at village level, respondent households from Mkungugu village reported being the most affected in terms of maize production compared to Mkulula village. Results at village level in 2016/2017 revealed decline in production compared to the past ten years for both villages. The highest declines were spotted in Mkungugu. For instance, a household in Mkungugu failed to harvest 16 and above sacks, while the largest harvest ranged between 11 and 15 sacks that account for 8.6 percent (see Figure 4.14). Also much of the highest amounts of harvested sacks for Mkulula accounted for 1.3 percent between 16 and 20 sacks and as well as at a range between 26 and 30 sacks, respectively (ibid.). Despite minor differences in terms of produced amounts among respondents in both villages, this signifies that both villages have been affected by CC.

Figure 4.14: Household maize production for 2016/2017 at village level

Source: Field Survey (2018)

Household respondents’ experiences were then compared with findings from key informants and FGD. The data collected mostly indicated climate change mainly dry spells, severe drought, pests and disease invasion brought about negative impacts on maize production. Such pattern led to food insecurity in the study area also echoed through the following quotes:

Box 4.5: Experience of CC impacts on maize production by extension officer and farmers

Plate 4.1: Dried maize crop due to prolonged dry spells field survey of 2018

Besides experienced farmers, extension officer and FGD attendants with such views on impacts of CC, almost all stakeholders who were interviewed had similar views as shown in the quote below,

Box 4.6: Experiences of CC impacts and food insecurity by NGOs and District officers

The situation of food insecurity in the study area was also explained by DAICO and Crop Officer when they talked about provision of food relief to the household that has no food due to CC impacts.
Box 4.7: Experiences on food insecurity due to CC impacts on maize production

In general, this study found that maize production has declined due to CC impacts thereby leading to food insecurity. It has made some people shift from maize cultivation to drought tolerant crops such as millet and sunflower in order to get enough food.

4.4.8 Trends of maize yields in relation to annual rainfall records
The Pearson’s correlation coefficient was used to run and examine the relationship between rainfall and maize production for 14 years (2002-2016). However, it was noted that there was a negative relationship between rainfall and maize production because as the rainfall increased production, decreased and vice versa. Such results assume presence of negative correlations between the two variables, although the relation is not significant as indicated by P=0.092 (P ;0.05) (Table 4.6).

Table 4.6: Coefficient Correlations between rainfall and maize production
Rainfall Maize production
Rainfall Pearson Correlation 1 -.468
Sig. (2-tailed) .092
N 14 14
Maize production Pearson Correlation -.468 1
Sig. (2-tailed) .092
N 14 14
Source: Field Survey (2018)

Also from secondary data proved that increase in rainfall also led to decrease in maize production and vice versa. Rainfall has significant impact on maize production, but it seems that in those years with high rainfall (2004, 2011, and 2016), they received high rains with decreased production compared to years with optimum rains (2003, 2007, and 2010) with high production. Such variation might be caused by different factors like occurrences of rains in 2004, 2008, 2015 and 2016 that were very erratic and destroyed crops. Also respondents explained that in these years, erratic rains were associated with crop pests, crop diseases, use of unimproved seed and unwillingness of people to cultivate maize because others have shifted to grow drought tolerant crops. All of these might affect trend of maize production.

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