Climate change and its variability on crop production in semiarid areas of Iramba and Meatu Districts, Tanzania


Climate change and its variability are increasingly threatening livelihoods of Tanzania’s predominantly rural population and in particular those households with low incomes. Based on the above reality, a study was conducted in two semi-arid areas of central Tanzania. The overall objective was to determine how climate change and its variability have affected rural households’ crop production over time. Specifically, the paper aims at; assessing farmers’ preferred food and cash crops, determining the impact of rainfall variability on crop production in the semi-arid areas of central Tanzania and determining communities’ perception of climate change. The study on which the paper is based used a mixed method approach whereby both quantitative and qualitative data were collected to complement each other thus improving quality of the results regarding the impact of climate change and its variability on rural households’ crop production. Primary data was collected using a pre-structured questionnaire and focus group discussions’ checklist. Whereas quantitative data was analyzed using the Statistical Software for Social Scientists, qualitative data was analyzed using content analysis. Findings generally show that climate change and climate variability have occurred in the study area and consequently crop production has adversely been affected leading to households’ vulnerability to food insecurity. In addition, food shortages have become frequent threatening households livelihood security. Based on the findings, rural households’ capacity to respond to the challenges of climate change and climate variability is a matter of urgency. Therefore, the government, in addition to the efforts already undertaken, should put in place institutional and policy framework to support rural households’ efforts to minimize the impacts of the phenomena.


African development, 2016, 32 (Special issue): 10-19


Climate change, Semi-arid, Crop production, Livelihood