Greener Journal of Agricultural Sciences Vol. 3 (12), pp. 809-816, December 2013.
ISSN: 2276-7770 © 2011 Greener Journals
Manuscript Number: 100713891
Climate Change: Matching Growing Season Length with Maize Crop Varietal Life Cycles in Semi-Arid Regions of Zimbabwe
M. T. Mubvuma
Department of Soil and Plant Science, Faculty of Agriculture and Life sciences, Great Zimbabwe University.
P.O. Box 1235, Masvingo, Zimbabwe.
Email: mubvumamagm @ yahoo.co.uk, Tel: +263-039 252281
Climate change is set to increase the risk and uncertainty
of maize production in the semi-arid Regions of Zimbabwe.
The study had the objective to determine the existence of
climate change in Masvingo District using the long term
behaviour of the growing season length and its parameters
over a period of 31 years (1970-2001), and to match the life
cycle period of locally available maize, sorghum and pearl
millet varieties with growing season length. The onset of
the rain season was found to be an important indicator of
growing season length and was observed to have changed from
late October to late November. The growing season length for
the District was noted to have changed significantly (P <
0.01) from 120 days during the early 70s to 100 days in the
year 2001. With the seasonal length now averaging at 100
days, the results show that the current climate is no longer
suitable for growing maize when considering the average life
cycle of maize in terms of days from planting to harvesting,
but is now marginally suitable for Sorghum and Pearl Millet
production. Farmers in Masvingo Province are advised to stop
growing rain fed maize for livelihood but focus on growing
sorghum and pearl millet crops.
Keywords: Climate Change, Growing season length, Onset of rains, Maize, Sorghum and Pearl millet.